SAN FRANCISCO: A California appeals court has tossed out a fine for a driver checking a smart phone map to escape traffic, offering a new interpretation in the crackdown on “distracted driving.”
A panel of judges reasoned that the summons and its $165 fine applied to holding mobile phones to converse while driving and said nothing of looking at maps on screens for directions.
“We conclude that the statute means what it says—it prohibits a driver only from holding a wireless telephone while conversing on it,” the appellate court said in a written ruling available online last week.
The driver was sitting in congested traffic when a California Highway Patrol officer noticed him using his smart phone. In a subsequent appearance in court, both the officer and motorist testified he was using a smart phone map service.
The driver was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine, then appealed the case.