A driver who stops at a red light is “driving” and is still prohibited from using a handheld cell phone, a state appeals court ruled Monday in upholding a $103 fine against a Richmond motorist.
Carl Nelson was ticketed by a police officer who saw him dialing a phone and holding it to his ear at a stoplight in December 2009. Nelson appealed his citation, arguing that a 2007 state law, which forbids using handheld wireless devices while driving, applies only when a vehicle is in motion.
The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco was unpersuaded.
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 James Lambden in the 3-0 ruling.
He said lawmakers were trying to promote public safety, which could be threatened by letting drivers handle cell phones during “fleeting pauses in stop-and-go traffic, at traffic lights and stop signs, as pedestrians cross, as vehicles ahead navigate around a double-parked vehicle, and many other circumstances.”
The California cell phone law is a joke and never enforced unless a police officer wants to “PIMP” you.
Lambden noted that the law allows drivers to use handheld cell phones in emergencies, like calling police or a hospital. He said the court did not need to discuss other scenarios raised by Nelson, such as whether a motorist could phone home while stuck for hours behind a traffic accident.
Now, everyone will say it was an emergency or something…..