Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Smart phone GPS Illegal?

A recent article by the News Mail stated that Smart phone GPSs are illegal. The headline certainly caught my eye, and the picture of a policeman holding up an iPhone sporting a GPS app certainly nailed the point home. Wha ??

I rang the police department later that day for clarification. If using the GPS features of an iPhone are classed as using a phone, what about using other features such as, say, listening to music? If this point stood, you may as well fine everyone with an iPhone. Fortunately the clarification made the point clear: OPERATING a phone is illegal. Using the phone in hands free mode for any feature is acceptable.

GG News-Mail. I think that distinction is critical to the balance of the article.
MOTORISTS are being warned that smart phones such as the iPhone will cost them a $300 fine if they are used as a navigational device while on the road.

Uhh, I would expect the people who have shelled out ~$50 for GPS maps have also shelled out for an in-car cradle to make it easy to use, placing it in exactly the same legislative position as an ordinary GPS unit.

By the way, I don't see any laws against using a laptop while driving. Maybe the legislation surrounding phones needs to cover distractions in general caused by in-car devices?