There's a rumor that the best way to get out of a texting-while-driving ticket is to tell the police officer you were using your phone to get directions.
But now using smartphone maps while driving is also illegal in California. Or, rather, a judge has determined that it was already illegal according to California's "hands-free" distracted driving law.
The case was brought to California's appellate court by defendant Steven Spriggs, who argued he should not have received a ticket for using his phone while driving because he was only using GPS, CNET reports.
The law in question was Senate Bill 1613, which went into effect in 2008 and states:
"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."
Judge W. Kent Hamlin determined that SB1613 includes using a smartphone GPS navigation system.
”Distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator, a clock or a device for sending and receiving text messages and emails," Hamlin said in a TechCrunch report.
So, it's essentially illegal to touch your phone while driving. Perhaps all cars should come with smartphone cradles if they don't have built-in GPS. It's the best we can do for now -- that is, until Google's self-driving cars hit the market.