Using iPhone’s Siri While Driving May Violate Hands-Free Law

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Apple’s new voice-activated assistant is all the rage on the newest iPhone. But police warn using Siri behind the wheel could get drivers busted.

Siri is a new feature on the iPhone 4S that allows users to find restaurants, look up names or hear messages simply by talking into their phones.

Some iPhone owners are using Siri to get driving directions, and that is where things get a little tricky.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

“As long as you’re not holding the phone in your hand then you’re able to drive and ask it questions and interact with it, just like you would in a conversation on a cell phone,” said San Jose Police Spokesman Jose Garcia.

He said that Siri is, in essence, a speaker phone which is legal. But if a driver touches the phone or looks at the directions on the screen, then it becomes a violation of the state’s hands-free cellphone law.

Siri can be a distraction, even if you’re staying within the letter of the law. Gary Richards, traffic columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, said that drivers are better off doing what he does, not using their cell phones at all.

“I either turn it off, or put it down or put it in the glove compartment,” said Richards. “I just don’t do it.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Matt Bigler
  • rm

    Not using your turn signals and tailgating are much bigger problems, but CHP does not bother to enforce these rules. I see CHP and city police cars driving w/o signaling lane changes and turns.

    People drive the way they live.

  • Mike Yoo

    We need Siri so we can ask it how to wipe our butts. In other words, it doesn’t contribute anything to our society. It just makes us lazy and stupid.

    • MJ

      Hey Mike, hate Apple much?

  • curious george

    hmm, if the driver touches or looks at the screen it’s a violation…

    how about the navigation system…I’m looking at the screen to make sure I am on the right track…just becuz it’s not a cell phone it’s okay? wait it’s linked with my cell it’s illegal? Why did my car maker provide me with an illegal mechanism…?

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