Navigation Apps Illegal in California?

Distracted driving has led to an increase in car crashes ever since our mobile phones have gotten “smarter.” Drivers who use handheld devices are four times more likely to get seriously injured in a car crash, and text messaging has been estimated to increase the chances of a car crash by 23 percent.

To reduce the dangers of distracted driving, California legislators passed into law California Code 23132, which 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.”

In 2012, a California driver was cited for violating this Code, not for talking or for texting — he was using a navigation app for directions. The driver filed an appeal, arguing that the Code does not mention using a navigation app.

The court of appeals disagreed. This means that more people could be cited for using their smartphones as navigation devices in the future, even though the law doesn’t specifically state it.

Even if navigational use isn’t written into the law, it’s always best to be safe. With the number of cars and the number of car crashes expected to rise, it’s more important than ever to be a cautious and alert driver. Driving while distracted can lead to car crashes – and crashes can lead to property damage, serious injuries and even death.
If you do get into a car crash, 1-800-THE-LAW is here to help — 24/7, 365 days a year.