California makes it legal to look at a map on your smartphone while driving

Talking on a cellphone while driving, get a ticket. Text while driving, get a ticket. Glance at that all-powerful map on your iPhone while driving? No problem. That was the conclusion Thursday of a state appeals court in Fresno, which for the first time in a California case found that drivers can use maps on their smartphones without risking a hands-free cellphone ticket.

A California state appellate court on Thursday reversed a ruling of a man who was ticketed for using a mapping app on his iPhone 4 while driving, opening the door to reform of the state’s laws regarding cellphone use while driving. In its decision, California’s 5th District Court of Appeal ruled the state’s laws are worded in such a way that does not prohibit drivers from using certain apps like mapping software while driving, reports The Associated Press. In January of 2012, Steven Spriggs was issued a ticket by a California Highway Patrol officer for using his iPhone 4 while stuck in traffic caused by roadwork. Spriggs challenged the $165 fine, arguing his use of a mapping app to find an alternate route did not break state laws barring talking on a cellphone while driving.

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