Just about everyone east of Lake Tahoe has felt at one time or another that California legislators and judiciary are stupid but this tops it off. And in what appears to be the most idiotic decision in history, drivers in California can now be pulled over using their GPS while . . . driving.
In perhaps the most far reaching distracted driving law anywhere, an appellate court in California has found that GPS applications on handsets will cause a distraction and not actually assist drivers in determining their location. Evidently, the appellate judges think it makes more sense to open a paper map or a bulky atlas and spread that out across the front seat or windshield.
Do you think a 4 foot wide map in the hands of a driver, spread out in front of the windshield isn’t a distraction?
Studies by the National Highway Traffic Research Institute, the American Journal of Public Health, AAA, and various technology companies have all shown that hands-free GPS-enabled devices increase the safety of drivers on the road. They also show that most distracted driving laws don’t work. One such study published in the American Journal of Public Health conducted in 2010 found that fatalities and reduction in accidents in general were almost non-existent after states imposed distracted driving laws. In the California case, the judge left the law open for interpretation as to whether or not drivers could use a hands-free GPS. Hands-free or not, it looks like it’s up to law enforcement discretion as to whether or not drivers can utilize devices and software designed to reduce distractions while on the road.
There is conflicting research from multiple sources as to whether or not voice activated technologies eliminate or reduce the distractions drivers have but it’s still amazing that California hasn’t legislated away the drive-thru window and the distraction a good In-N-Out burger could pose to a driver. That’s why I live in Texas, where pick- up trucks, common sense, gun racks, and GPS all rule the road.
James Brehm is a Geek, Technology Evangelist, Analyst, Consultantant, and Senior Strategist at Compass Intelligence. Brehm is a frequent contributor to CNBC’s Closing Bell and is regularly quoted by media outlets such as the Hearst Corporation, RCR Wireless, TMC, The eCommerce Times, and Wireless Week.
Brehm leads M2M, IoT, and connected device research and custom consulting projects, represents Compass Intelligence at industry events and is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings on such topics as: M2M communications and the internet of things (IoT), 4G, VoIP, next-generation mobile infrastructure, cloud computing, mobile applications, mobile commerce, the security and compliance of web applications, emerging wireless devices and vertical market deployment of Web-enabled services.
In his spare time, Brehm spends time studying corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives. Additionally, he actively volunteers with Liberia Now, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission to transform Liberian communities through projects in education, infrastructure, healthcare, economic development, and spiritual renewal.
You can contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org
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