Print 48 comment(s) - last by shabby.. on Apr 9 at 10:01 PM

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: sounds fair
By DalisMoustache on 4/9/2013 1:05:14 AM , Rating: 1
This article strikes me as MAAN for a variety of reasons. And I'm not too surprised your post was downrated despite being largely correct.
As I understand it people who use GPS are typically less effective at route-finding and spatial recognition versus more traditional means:
People who use GPS devices will typically be less skilled at the general task of wayfinding and navigation. This means their with-GPS versus without-GPS experiences will probably have significantly different outcomes, challenges, and stresses thus reinforcing their pro-GPS bias.
Add to that this article and your post challenging that learned and reinforced GPS bias. A typical reaction will then be to judge first (downrate) and rationalize afterwards.
People, your heuristics are failing you.
Specifically to Reclaimer77, it's called looking at a map before you go. It's not some eldritch wiccan thing.

RE: sounds fair
By Rukkian on 4/9/2013 11:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
So maybe you have a photgraphic memory, but when I have to get somewhere 100 miles away on some backroad in the middle of nowhere, there is no way I can look at a map one time before I leave my house and know every turn I have to make. This is just one example.

If you know your area and know basically where you have to get to, then sure looking at a map once before you leave can work. If you are going somewhere in an area you have never been, it is not very efficient to try and wing it.

RE: sounds fair
By Nutzo on 4/9/2013 2:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
You basically describe me vs the wife.

I have a good sense of direction and rarely use GPS, unless I'm going somewhere I haven't been before. If it's somewhere local, I'll just look it up on Google maps and remember the basic route/cross streets, no need for GPS.

On the other hand, my wife uses her GPS all the time, even when going to places she has been to many times. She has a poor sense of direction and would be lost without her GPS.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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