California law lets you fiddle with phone while driving – sometimes

Tony Bizjak, Sacramento Bee

A California Office of Traffic Safety study came up with this unsurprising but alarming finding last week: 1 out of every 10 drivers on the road is paying as much attention to his or her smartphone as to the road ahead.

That’s illegal, right? Not necessarily.

It’s definitely illegal in California to talk into or text on a hand-held cellphone. But it’s not explicitly illegal to scroll through your phone’s music playlist by hand while driving or to take photos with your phone’s camera from behind the wheel. The law also is silent on whether you can hold your phone in your hand to read the phone’s map, or search on an app for the nearest pizzeria or gas station.

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