Are you a distracted driver? [Live video discussion]

Be honest. While driving, how many times have you yielded to the siren call of that smartphone? Or maybe you've picked it up for just a second because a text came in or to check directions using its GPS function.

Sure, these devices have become more than just phones; they've become something akin to a new appendage for many of us.

LIVE DISCUSSION: Join us at 11 a.m. Pacific time

They are our calendars, cameras, mobile maps and music players as much as they are communication devices. But law enforcement emphasizes that they're also more of a distraction from your primary responsibility as a driver.

As The Times' Robin Abcarian notes in Friday's column, DWD (driving while distracted) caused more than 3,000 deaths nationally in 2011.

While many of us, grudgingly or eagerly, make every effort to comply with the law, what we think might be a legal and innocuous use of these handheld computers might be deemed a violation of the law. Steven Spriggs is a case in point: He continues to appeal his conviction for using his iPhone's GPS-enabled maps app while driving.

April is nationwide Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Join us in a live chat with columnist Robin Abcarian and the California Highway Patrol's officer Vince Ramirez to help clarify what constitutes distracted driving -- and how to harness the power of your device without taking your focus from the freeway.



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