A texting-while-driving measure that is being called the “Freedom to Communicate” bill has been signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. While it is still officially illegal to text or email while driving in the state, there is a technical modification that allows the communication to continue.
The Freedom to Communicate bill allows voice-activated cell phone technology to send text messages and emails, so that drivers can remain compliant with hands-free laws and still communicate. State Assembly member Jeff Miller of Orange County sponsored this voice texting bill, saying that it is not fair to keep so many Californians who spend much of their time on the road, away from communication and out of touch. He claims that the law will “allow Californians to communicate safely and responsibly while on the road.
California’s anti-texting law has accounted for a 47% drop in cell phone-related deaths, and police officers are going to continue to enforce distracted driving laws in hopes that anti-texting laws continue to show positive numbers.
Opponents of the new law recognize that even with voice technology, cell-phone users are required to press a button to start and stop messages, which requires them to take their eyes away from the road ahead of them. The National Safety Council has called for a repeal, saying that distraction remains present with the new law. Janet Froetscher, CEO of the National Safety Council, said “There is no research or evidence that indicates voice-activated technologies eliminate or even reduce the distraction to the driver’s mind.” Currently, the bill is set to go into effect January 1, 2013.
San Diego accident attorneys Stephen Estey & Mike Bomberger have handled numerous auto accident cases and know that cell phones and text messages account for the largest part of distracted driving accidents. Voice texting is still another form of texting and will still prove to be a distraction, even though the driver will have their hands on the wheel.