“It’s a GPS!!”

I was riding home up South Union Street in Old Town when I came to a four way stop. An SUV on my left had rolled to a stop then moved forward a bit and stopped again. I came to a stop and looked at the driver to make eye contact before entering the intersection. I could see he had a Blackberry in his right hand and he was looking at it. As I rolled forward I motioned to him and mouthed the words “Hang up your phone.”  A few seconds later I was clear of the intersection to his left, I could hear him yell angrily at me as he drove on his way, “It’s a GPS!!!”

As I continued home, all I could think of his, “What a jerk. He’s distracted AND lost and he thinks that makes it legal.”  Just to satisfy myself, I looked up the law when I got home. I’ll be damned if he isn’t right. The law applies to texting but it clearly excludes operating a GPS. Brilliant.

The law provides an exception for:

“The use of factory-installed or aftermarket global positioning systems (GPS) or wireless communications devices used to transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system…” (§ 46.2-1078.1.B.3)

The wording implies that the GPS is installed in the vehicle,e but it leaves ambiguous hand held devices operating as GPS devices. The law explicitly excludes typing for the purposes of communicating with another person but not with a computer application.

So, if you get pulled over for texting in Virginia, just say “It’s a GPS!” 

In unrelated news, about 2 miles from home I rode by a house with a nice big lawn. I heard a buzzing sound. It was a robotic lawn mower cutting the grass.

Can we go back to maps and push mowers please? This modern world is too damned complicated.


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