The war on cell phones continues. A California court has ruled that you can’t use your cell phone in the car, even if you are sitting at a red light without getting a ticket for being in violation of VC 23123(a).
From a legal realists perspective, the court obviously made it’s mind up first, and then analyzed the issues in order to obtain the desired ruling. How else would you get three sane members of a judge’s panel to find that the definition of “driving” includes what’s called “fleeting pauses” — such as sitting in traffic or at a red light. If that doesn’t sell you, how about this one. Excluding such stops from the definition of driving is “contrary” to the cell phone ban, and “would likely result in significant and numerous public safety hazards.”
The amazing thing is it’s still ok to adjust your radio all you want or input things into your GPS, scratch your back, high five your passenger or anything else you want, just don’t touch that evil phone! Some would argue that the ban isn’t really about keeping your hands free but more about how distracting a phone call can be when you get wrapped up in the conversation. This is a decent argument, although if you follow it, then we should ban hands free phone use as well. Little chance of that happening though with all the safety features of having a cell phone to call for help in emergencies and report drunk drivers.
If you want to read more about the story it’s here http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Use-Your-Phone-at-a-Red-Light-Get-a-Ticket-133909633.html.