California has come a long ways from the days of The Beach Boys, where promises of surf, sand, sun, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, at least until “Daddy takes the T-Bird away”, and beautiful woman were promised to all who made the journey westward. Hundreds of thousands did make that trip and made California the diverse and fantastic state it is, or was? California is the ultimate in the “Nanny States” these days. Capable of fining you for nearly anything, while slowly sucking the life out of its denizens, California that once perceived bastion of liberalism is rapidly going the way of the “jack-booted” state insisting on policing everything, including a ban on gay marriage? In California?
Now, there is nothing sillier than being killed by someone who is texting and driving, with the possible exception of killing someone else why you are texting. However, upholding a ban on smart phone navigation is pushing it a bit. Is it that much more distracting to glance down at your phone then looking around for all manner of signage when driving an unfamiliar route? California says, yes it is.
In January 2012, Steve R. Spriggs was ticketed for violating California code 23123. That code reads, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”
His crime? Navigation. Apparently, had it been in a cradle and set to voice instructions, Mr. Spriggs may or may not have been cited. Essentially, that behavior would simply turn your phone into a Garmin or any of many GPS devices that are perfectly legal. But that may or may not be the case according to a California Appeals Court who upheld Mr. Spriggs citation.
The National Safety Council notes, “There is no research or evidence that indicates voice-activated technologies eliminate or even reduce the distraction to the drivers’ mind.”
By this way of thinking there is no way in hell drivers should ever be allowed to put a child in the car. Carpooling with three or four kids in the car on the way to a soccer game should then see you arrested for Conspiracy to Commit Multiple Vehicular Homicides given that inherent distraction.