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Starting January 1, 2013, California drivers will be able to use their cell phone while driving – somewhat. However, texting drivers should not celebrate because physically using their cell phone is still against the law.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1536, a bill that would allow Golden State drivers to use hands-free technology to create and send text-based messages on their cell phones.
According to a Contra Costa Times report, “Starting Jan. 1, cops will allow you to send, dictate and listen to text messages while driving, but only if you're using a separate, voice-activated device that's connected to your phone -- something like a headset or Bluetooth earpiece or a program inside your car like OnStar.”
The new piece of legislation gained mixed reaction from the public. Some people are not very enthusiastic about the new law because they fear that using hands-free devices to text while driving can still distract drivers. However, police officials are quick to say that drivers cannot touch their devices while using any hands-free way of texting. They say that merely touching your phone will driving is considered a violation of the state’s texting ban laws.
Traffic safety experts agree that drivers can still be distracted even without physically using their cell phone; thus, they suggest that motorists must only focus on their driving rather than on other activities like texting. Hence, iPhone users who want to use Siri to text while driving may still not be able to do so because they have to touch their cell phone in doing so.
In addition, current California traffic laws prohibit drivers from touching their cell phone while operating their vehicle. Thus, California drivers may have to wait for more advanced technology to take advantage of AB 1536.
Incidentally, California drivers who get involved in a distracted-related accident caused by another party should consult with a Los Angeles car accident attorney to know the legal actions they have to take for them to recover for injury compensations.