Yes, we know. Siri has been hot news for the past three weeks. The reviews have all been for positive, too — until now. MercuryNews was told by the San Jose Police Department that using Siri while driving is illegal. And that’s just odd.
“It’s legal to talk to Siri, as long as the phone’s not in your hand,” says San Jose police Lt. Chris Monahan. “But if you have to push the phone to activate her, or if you ask for directions and she puts them up on her screen for you to read, then California’s hands-free law says you’re breaking the law.”
So, did Apple break the law? After all, they demoed Siri in a driving scene in their video. To answer that, let’s report to the good ol’ rule book. According to Section 23123.5 of the San Jose motor-vehicle code, and I quote, “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.” In layman’s terms, this means that you can talk to Siri while driving. You just can’t touch her.
Now back to Apple’s demo video. From 0:18 to 0:28, you’ll notice that the man doesn’t actually touch Siri, so to speak. Instead, he uses his Apple headphones to communicate (nice one Apple). So I think he’s innocent, this time. Funnily enough, the iPhone has GPS capabilities and using such a device isn’t illegal once it’s mounted on your dashboard. Our advice? Get the directions prior to leaving the driveway or just keep your conversations with Siri to a minimum.