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Using a handheld garmin and driving

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While there may be no specific offence involved in using a handheld GPSr while driving (unlike the mobile phone offence we know and love), it’d be easy to prove a variety of offences if you caused an accident while doing it or were determined by an police officer to be driving otherwise in accordance. It’s easily more distracting than using a hand held mobile as you have to look at the screen so I’d not do it if I were you.

Additionally, anyone causing an accident involving me or my family while using such a device would have to have said device surgically removed from their fundament. :rolleyes:

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The law regarding electronic devices itself has not changed. That, only from what I have gleamed from the news, has not changed. Anything that means you don't have your hands on the steering wheel / gear stick / indicator stalks means you're being bad and if your hands are not on the steering wheel etc, then you MAY be driving without due care and attention. The MAY bit is obviously to be decided by the courts.


The law that has changed this week is about a new charge called 'death by careless driving'. It's an attempt to rectify where people have been killed by drivers who were driving without due care and attention and then the driver got 20 months.. This is because previously these drivers people were only chargeable under the law of 'careless driving'. This was despite having taken someone's life. If the driver had not been doing what they were doing (using a mobile, changing a CD, applying lipstick, having a shave, seeking nearest geocache on GPSr!) a life would not have been taken. That bit there is for the courts to decide but the law now allows the courts to make that decision. Ultimately the courts can now ask 'Could the death have been avoided if the driver was paying due care and attention?'

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When using my etrex yellow in the car, I wedge it between the windscreen and the dashboard. That way I don't need to take my eyes off the road to see the arrow and the distance- as safe as a Tomtom or other sat-nav system- safer perhaps, as I've no distracting voice telling me to go up a one way street the wrong way (this can happen). So long as you're not playing with it when (if) you crash it shouldn't be a problem. No worse than having a mobile in the car but be talking on a bluetooth headset or having the radio on and retuning it with buttons on your steering wheel. It's the distraction which is the issue and so long as you're not inputting co-ords as you drive having a handheld GPS in the car shouldn't be a problem. I know we've some ex/cops on the forum but anyone from traffic? :rolleyes:

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I often use my GPSr phone to get me to new places. I'd literally be lost without it! I keep it in an adjustable large mobile holder I got very cheaply from a well known supermarkets 'value' range. Thought you might find this helpful - afterall 'every little helps' [:rolleyes:]. You would probably still be in trouble if you crashed whilst playing with it.

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Phone holder - ditto!


We use an eTrex Vista Cx with Topo 2 UK installed to guide us to the location via roads then select recalc and "off-road" when we leave the car.


Using a USB cigarette thingy to power it, it bleeps when you need to be informed of an upcoming turn or whatever. It works just like any other satnav unit.

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...I wedge it between the windscreen and the dashboard. That way I don't need to take my eyes off the road to see the arrow and the distance - as safe as a Tomtom or other sat-nav system - safer perhaps, as I've no distracting voice telling me to go up a one way street the wrong way (this can happen)...

My 60C with CSEU07 gets me everywhere I need (tho' a few evenings with the Mark I map before a long trip south is good practice) ... often need to be a bit 'creative' with the 56meg capacity :) ... but the best thing about it is there's no woman telling me when I've taken a wrong turn - with three women on board the last thing I need is a digital one who actually is right :rolleyes: !


Still struggling with CNEU08 - map tiles too large, but a few new French roads have been updated

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A hand held device is defined as something that must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function. This could be a mobile phone, a PDA, a Blackberry or other similar gadget. However the use of 2-way radio equipment is not a specific offence.


Driving is defined as using a motor vehicle on any public road. This includes when you are stuck in traffic jams (unless your engine is turned off), at a red light and even in a car park.


You can still be prosecuted for using cb / pmr radios and hands free kits via the dangerous driving charge.


In other words, all gadgets should be setup before driving, or used by passengers. If you need to make adjustments, you need to park in a safe location and switch the engine off.



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