The “texting while driving” law goes into effect today.  No reading, sending or writing any texts, emails or tweets while sitting at a red light or it’s a $150 ticket.

Whether this includes using a Google Maps app on your iPhone is anyone’s guess.  It’s certainly internet data, but is it a communication?  Can’t wait for the appellate decisions on this law.


17 Responses to It’s July 1st, Get Off Your Phone

  1. JMPrince says:

    You need not have any electronic device to be a very poor and/or distracted driver. Ask any mom, especially ones traveling with more than one kid! Then there’s always this too: (Some harsh Language noted).

  2. Jen B. says:

    I would advise everyone to file speedy trial demands on these tickets; however, you’re not entitled to a jury trial since there’s no possibility of jail time.

  3. griftdrift says:

    Probably not. The logging on devices is “thin”. Although it’s been years since I’ve been in the industry. Who knows what these fancy new toys record.

  4. griftdrift says:

    Sara is pretty much correct. There are two things a cell phone company could provide which would be relevant

    1. Record of an outbound text (completely damning)
    2. Record of an increase in outgoing data transmission (hardly damning)

    Every smart phone has a bit of “chatter” as it communicates with the nearest tower. From the innocuous ping to you forwarding a 10mg pdf. Subpeoning the phone records for anything other than the texts would be pretty useless.


    The smartphone itself logs all transactions and with the right technology access, that could be damning. Which leads me to…

    Could an officer confiscate a phone as evidence?

    • Sara says:

      But wouldn’t transactions only count as sending or receiving texts or emails and sending or receiving data over the internet connection or through applications? Viewing or typing activity isn’t recorded, just incoming or outgoing data, right?

      In other words, if I open an email that was previously automatically downloaded to my blackberry (as part of the every 1 minute email push), will my blackberry record when I opened it, that I scrolled down through it, and what time all of that happened? Or the Ubertwitter account…does my blackberry record that I opened the Ubertwitter application and read the previously auto-refreshed twitter feed?

  5. Jules says:

    And yet you can still drive around with the phone jammed up into your ear. Most states started
    By forcing everyone to have a headset or bluetooth, then built ujp from there with the distracted while driving laws, we of coursed skipped that and made a ridiculously
    Broad law that no one has respect for. Not surprising.
    I too will be breaking this law….

    • Jen B. says:

      Driving While Distracted is already a law and has been for years in Georgia and people get ticketed for it. The Georgia Legislature is full of wimpass morons.

  6. Sara says:

    What about iPhones that people are using to play music in their cars? I wonder if selecting songs is considered a “communication.”

    P.S. I’m breaking this law every damn day and I don’t care who knows it.

  7. I know it’s convoluted but what if: Say you are a passenger in a car. The driver has entered all the address information in his or her phone so that you, the passenger, can assist the driver. Then by some bum luck you get in an accident. They subpoena the cell phone records that show the driver’s phone was accessing data at the time of the accident. What then?

    • He Hate Me says:

      I don’t know how this technology works (or anything else really) but that doesn’t seem like it would be enough. Aren’t Blackberries always retrieving email anyway?

      • Sara says:

        Yeah, any device that is pulling from email servers on an automated basis is going to show you are accessing data every 1 minute, 5 minutes, whatever. I’m not sure it will show a distinction between when the device is being manually manipulated and when it’s refreshing automatically.

        The cell phone records will really only come in handy for actual texting, which is why it is silly that this law was written so broadly as to encompass all sorts of other things we do while driving.

    • Jen B. says:

      If the cop decides to be a dick and not believe the passenger, then the State has to prove the driver was using the device. And the Defense may have to put up the passenger because the cop may be a bigger dick and say he saw the driver.

  8. This morning National NPR did a story about this and reported that using phone map apps and other phone GPS-type stuff was verboten, as well. They also said that phone records could be subpoenaed if an accident occurs.

    • Jen B. says:

      Hm. If you input the address prior to leaving your legal parking position and the directions are spoken, then I don’t think it’s a violation because the law specifies that you can’t “send, write or read.” Should be interesting!