Indiana texting law takes a beating

A federal appeals court has cast a dubious eye on Indiana's texting & driving law. Ruling in the case of a suspected drug trafficker pulled over for texting, the court found that "the most plausible inference from seeing a driver fiddling with his cell phone is that he is not texting" -- citing a list of other activities possible on smartphones. In the decision dated Feb. 18, the court found: "No fact perceptible to a police officer glancing into a moving car and observing the driver using a cell phone would enable the officer to determine whether it was a permitted or a forbidden … [Read more...]

Siri a winner in Nova Scotia courts

Canadian provinces continue to struggle with the specifics of their distracted driving laws. In the latest case, in Nova Scotia, the Supreme Court sided with a motorist who was ticketed for using the Siri feature on an iPhone to ask for directions. The high court ruled in late October 2015 that employing the voice-activated navigational system did not constitute "use" of the cell phone, which would be illegal. Justice Jamie Campbell said the related wording in the Nova Scotia's Motor Vehicle Act was so simple as to be unclear and behind the times. He said other provinces were more … [Read more...]

Cell phone search warrants needed

In a privacy ruling certain to affect distracted driving enforcement, the U.S. Supreme Court says police must have search warrants in order to examine the cell phones of those they arrest. The justices' cell phone ruling of June 25 said: "The police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested." The Fourth Amendment ruling was seen as a pivotal decision in the broad area of digital privacy. It did not specifically address distracted driving cases but clearly would apply to them. Police who seek to … [Read more...]

N.H. justices: Reading text was reckless

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man sent to prison for reckless driving while reading a text message. The resulting wreck left a teenager riding in another vehicle with brain damage. Chad Belleville was found guity of second-degree assault after he admitted to reading the text while his southbound SUV crossed the median and hit two northbound vehicles, leaving the boy with brain damage. Justice Carol Ann Conboy, left, wrote Feb. 11 that Belleville's driving on Dec. 23, 2010, was a "gross deviation from the conduct of a law-abiding citizen." He remains … [Read more...]

Google Glass ticket thrown out

A California tech tester who was stopped and cited for using Google Glass has beaten the rap. A San Diego court officer said he found no evidence that Cecilia Abadie was using the new visual technology just before she was stopped for speeding. The ticket was for using a "monitor" while driving, not for a violation of cell phone or texting laws. The court commissioner did say "falls within the purview and intent" of state law against using a video monitor, however. California permits hands-free cell phone use and texting for adult drivers. Abadie wore the glasses while talking with … [Read more...]