Time Magazine had an interesting article from Matt Peckham asking that question. He was reacting to a California ruling that a person who was using their phone for navigation was violating the rule for cellphone use. The person argued that it wasn't being used as a cellphone at the time.
What was interesting about Peckman's article is that he basically pointed out all the ways that we are distracted:
True, these are all distractions, but they don't get around the basic issue here that the phone was being used in a way that it was distracting. Just because it can be a convenience doesn't make it safe or legal.
We deal with collisions all the time. I always ask myself why does a usually safe person suddenly run a light, pass a stop sign, or just rear end someone? Whether they admit it or not, it is probably because they were distracted. What other answer is there?
I found this statement from Peckman particularly interesting:
The only serious accident I've had in my life didn't involve a distraction at all, but a patch of unexpected black ice and a sudden crosswind that sent me fishtailing at 70 m.p.h. off the interstate into an Iowa ditch filled, thankfully, with two feet of snow.
That's great, but the truth is that most defendants don't have a history of serious collisions. They have that one instance where they were distracted even though they usually drive defensively.
Stop using the cellphone in a way that takes your eyes off the road. Be safe.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.