Don't iDrive

5:00 PM -- Not using your phone while driving might not sound like a big deal. Might even sound like common sense. But in California, where people consider cellphones and cars to be God-given rights, using the Apple iPhone behind the wheel just got one step closer to illegal.

As of July 1, the state requires drivers to use a hands-free cellphone. Considering the popularity of Bluetooth earpieces, that's not a big deal to most heavy-duty callers.

But the iPhone is inherently hands-on, as the Mercury News notes in an article today. It's a touch device that has to be looked at. You can't just feel for the buttons -- which, come to think of it, would probably be illegal under the new law anyway.

Nor does the iPhone yet have voice dialing, although the article lists Makayama Media and Nuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN) as companies working on it. You'll have to touch a button to launch the apps, though.

The iPhone does have a handset and speakerphone, so the act of talking isn't illegal. Just don't let the Highway Patrol catch you with your hands at that 12:00 position on the wheel, thumb-scraping through an address book while you plow through that stop sign.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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