San Fernando Valley Los Angeles Attorneys
Navigation Two
Phone Number
« Employers: Don't Forget to Designate Employees' Time Off | Main | New Family Law Adds Impersonation to Domestic Violence Claims »

Mapping While Driving: It's Legal. For Now.

Injury Attorney Los AngelesLos Angeles Injury Lawyer 


by David B. Bobrosky

(818) 907-3254


You've probably heard about Steven Spriggs, cited for distracted driving while looking at a map on his smartphone and fined $165. The California Highway Patrol says Spriggs violated a motor vehicle law that makes it illegal to use a cell phone while driving, unless it is hands–free.

California drivers under 18 may not use any wireless device while driving.The California Code that specifically addresses this situation 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.

Spriggs claimed he did not violate the statute because he wasn't talking. A California Fifth Appellate District Court agreed with him yesterday, saying the code prohibits a driver from holding a cell phone while talking on it, reversing the ruling of lower courts that interpreted the law to prohibit all cell phone use while driving.

This may not be the final word on mapping while driving though. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the California Attorney General's Office believes state law bans all hand-held cellphone use while driving.

A spokesperson from the CHP contends that "drivers can be cited for anything an officer considers a distraction, such as reading a magazine, drinking a latte, fussing with kids in the back seat – or poking around on a mapping device."

Additionally, Spriggs' case may go to the Supreme Court if the State chooses to appeal.

There's no way to determine the ultimate outcome at this point, but that doesn't mean drivers should feel free to start poking away at their phones without a second thought. Current California distracted driving laws state: 

  1. Texting while driving is illegal.

  2. Talking on a hand-held device while driving is illegal.

  3. Drivers under 18 cannot use any wireless device while driving. 

If current laws don't put a stop to distracted driving, hopefully common sense will.


David B. Bobrosky is a Personal Injury Attorney at our firm. Contact him via email: for more information.


This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Member Account Required
You must have a member account on this website in order to post comments. Log in to your account to enable posting.
LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120