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California Legalizes Hands-Free Texting While Driving

In most of the states, talking or texting over phone while driving is strictly prohibited. It’s been advised to drivers not to use cellphones while driving to avoid road accidents. However, the Californian Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 1536 on Friday that legalizes hands-free texting and email using voice-operated technology while driving.


texting while driving, Image Credit: nysenate.gov

According to the legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown, motorists will be able to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication while driving. The bill is designed to endorse voice-controlled dashboard systems, and certainly doesn’t endorse the use of mobile phones while driving. But the loose description of the voice-controlled systems or hands-free devices in the bill will let systems like Apple Siri fit the description.

The Assembly Bill 1536 was signed along with 15 other Assembly bills encompassing insurance rates to motorcycle safety. The new bill amended some portions of section 23123.5. Some of the important amended portions are given below.

  1. A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.
  2. For purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to be writing, reading, or sending a text-based communication if the person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call or if a person otherwise activates or deactivates a feature or function on an electronic wireless communications device.

California is the second state to allow hands-free texting with voice-operated technology, after Idaho. The law will be effective from January 1, 2013.

To see the whole amendment of section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code, head over to California Legislative Information.

Source : California Legislative Information
Thanks To : Bill Analysis

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