Answering that phone call or shooting off a quick text while waiting for the light to change can still net you hefty ticket, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. In a ruling that actually makes perfect sense, despite the defendant's argument that having one's foot on the brake is not the same as "driving", one judge wrote that accepting the driver's interpretation of the hands-free law would, "open the door to millions of people across our state repeatedly picking up their phones and devices to place calls and check voicemail (or text-based messages) whenever they are paused momentarily in traffic".

The case was an appeal of a $103 ticket levied against one Carl Nelson of Contra Costa County who was spotted dialing and holding his flip phone to his ear while stopped at a red light in Richmond way back in 2009. Hopefully Nelson's crack team of cellphone rights lawyers were doing this one pro-bono.