In a case heard around the world, or at least amongst the numerous men and women of driving age in the great state of California, a CA appellate court has ruled that it is not against the law for drivers to use GPS-devices on their smartphones while behind the wheel. This means that holding and/or looking at your phone while using the various map apps designed to help you navigate through the congested streets of Los Angeles is not against the law — and not a citable offense. While Los Angeles drivers can still get a ticket for talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, according to this judge, you are fine to look at the map on your cell phone while driving.
While many drivers are happy with this new interpretation of the hands-free law, the potential innocent victims of car accidents resulting from distracted driving are not. As we have discussed on numerous occasions, distracted driving is a serious concern in California and is the cause of many auto accidents in Los Angeles. The examples of distracted driving are infinite, including paying attention to your phone and not the road while behind the wheel.
Drivers are not home-free, however. California Highway Patrol officials have said that any type of distraction – whether it’s fiddling with the radio or your car’s navigation system, can still lead to a ticket. CHP officials say any time a driver pays too much attention to an electronic device and not the road, he or she can be cited for distracted driving; which is not to be confused with receiving a ticket for violating the hands-free law. Other distractions like reading a book, eating, drinking or applying makeup could also lead to a ticket.
Don’t be fooled: any form of distracted driving is dangerous. California law prohibits drivers from texting or using a handheld cell phone while driving. This means that if you or a loved one was injured by a driver who was distracted or otherwise negligent, you may be able to recover financially for your losses with the help of an aggressive car accident lawyer.
The California law that addresses hands-free cell phone use is California Vehicle Code Section 23123 (a). It states that “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.” Therefore, anyone who causes an auto accident while driving in a distracted manner can potentially be held financially responsible for the victim’s injuries, damages and losses. And in addition, that driver could face citations and related charges.
Injured victims of distracted drivers do not have to suffer alone. The experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys at BIKLAW will walk you through the process and work with you to help you obtain the legal and financial recovery you deserve.