fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

No statute against using GPS, but...

I have a question for you. Let's say you were on a road trip and using your cell phone's GPS application with a Bluetooth. Technically, it is no longer a cell phone, but a GPS. Is it legal to use when driving?

— Sue W., via e-mail

Hands-free doesn't necessarily mean phone-free, at least in this case.

It's important that you get from point A to point B, and if a global positioning system, or GPS application on your iPhone helps, so be it. Just make sure that the GPS isn't taking your attention away from the road, said Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen.

"There is nothing in the statutes about making it illegal to use a GPS," said Hansen. "It's just not recommended that you're punching in numbers while you're driving because you're taking your attention off the road."

Technically speaking, your phone's GPS is hands-free (especially if you're using your Bluetooth to listen to the voice commands), but if your hands leave the steering wheel to enter the address for the nearest Starbucks and a mishap occurs, you will be cited for careless driving, said Hansen.

"If you need to look at stuff like that, find a safe place to pull over, stop, get your directions and then proceed on your merry way," he said.

He also suggested looking at the route in advance so you are familiar with it and don't have to keep glancing at your GPS.

There may not be a legal issue using your phone's GPS, "but safety-wise, it's not advisable," he said.