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Western state sets a controversial driver distraction precedent

In the land of electric vehicles and honey, aka the nation's most populous state, California, controversy is brewing over distracted driving.

The Appellate Division Superior Court for the County of Fresno, Calif. made a controversial driver distraction ruling [PDF] this week, when it stiffened its ban on in-car smartphone use, banning motorists from looking at maps on their mobile devices while driving.

California, like most states allows motorists to consult paper-maps while driving -- a distraction that's considered dangerous, but at times necessary to motorists.  However, the exact same act on the a mobile device -- which arguably take less finger dexterity -- is verboten.

Distracted driving
This is okay, but using your smartphone is not. [Image Source: Petersen's 4 Wheel]

To be fair, the presiding Judge F. Brian Alvarez acknowledges that this cognitive dissonance between non-digital and digital uses exists in his ruling.  However, he says that the 2008 law passed by California's state legislature and the follow-up 2012 hands-free bill are explicit -- no manual interaction with digital devices of any kind can be performed while driving.

He suggests that the Californian legislature review the issue and possibly modify the law.

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The decision isn't entirely catastrophic to motorists; barring reversal from the legislature, the ruling still leaves drivers with some legal options.  Drivers can use hands free smartphone navigation software (which many phones now come with), although interacting with the device other than by voice is strictly illegal.  California also allows automated self-driving cars, although they are not yet widely commercially available.

And of course there's one other option for California's motorists -- a good old-fashioned map.

Source: The Appelate Division Superior Court for the County of Fresno, Calif.

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RE: "I am Governor Jerry Brown!
By Bad-Karma on 4/8/2013 8:51:42 PM , Rating: 4
True, although I've always heard it as the Pareto Principle:

The law of the vital few, states that, "For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes."

Or in this case 80% of California's issues stem from just 20% of the population.

I too noticed the influx of Californians when I was living in Tucson. They drove the home prices way out of wack. They'd buy up anything because it was cheaper than back in Cali. There were actually whole tracks of beautiful 500+K homes sitting abandoned (never finished) out in the desert where a Californian developer started the project then realized too late that there was no access to water for the communities.

Funny run in with a Cali idiot......
I refused to swerve and ran over a rabbit near the base of Mt. Lemmon close to my home. Had a lady in a Cali tag'd BMW follow me about a 1/2 mile and into my driveway. She was at my car window yelling at me for how insensitive I was to that poor animal. When I opened the door and she saw me in my flightsuit she launched into how " my insinsitivity was typical and how I was such a bad person for being in the military."

It was actually really funny, and I let her rant until she saw that in my hands, I was holding my Sig Sauer (still in it's holster)along with other things I was taking inside. She threw up her hands and screamed that I was threatening her and ran back to her car (still screaming) and drove off. Cops came a few minutes later. They laughed at the whole thing and went about their day, while I got a funny story out of it.

RE: "I am Governor Jerry Brown!
By Samus on 4/9/2013 12:04:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah the nice weather always attracts the nutty politicians. California, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois...

Ohh wait...

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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