Court Rules Against Cell Use At Red Light

Nov 17, 2011


With distracted driving such a focus in legislation and more and more cell phone bans taking effect, it is important to know what is acceptable behavior and what is not. 

Many drivers find it acceptable to make a call or view a text message when their vehicle is not in motion, such as at a stop light. However, a California court recently ruled to uphold a fine against a Richmond driver who was caught using his phone at a traffic light.

Current cell bans generally ban the use of devices while the vehicle is in motion, which the defendant claims does not apply to a stopped vehicle. But Justice James Lambden feels that momentary stops to not apply.

The law was intended to cover "persons driving on our public roadways, who, like (Nelson), may pause momentarily while doing so in order to comply with the rules of the road," said Justice Lambden, noting that allowing drivers to use their phones in stop-and-go traffic could still pose a threat to pedestrians and other motorists.

Until the laws are made clearer, incidents like these will be left up to offenders vs. the courts. Do you think cell phone use while stopped is an acceptable policy? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Photo courtesy of Mike Fisher and re-used under the Creative Commons license.