California Law AB 1536 Allows Hands-Free Texting in Cars Beginning January 1, 2013

From the One More Reason to Stay Off the Roads Department. In July Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assemblyman Jeff Miller of Corona's measure AB 1536 he refers to as the "Freedom to Communicate" bill.

AB 1536 states:

Existing law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, except as specified. This bill would remove that prohibition if the person is using an electronic wireless communications device that 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.

Miller's press release proudly states: "Today marks a huge victory for commuters as AB 1536 will now make it easier to utilize new technology to its full advantage, allowing Californians to communicate safely and responsibly while on the road," and ..."I (Miller) am thrilled to announce that Californians will now be able to communicate with friends, family and business partners while driving because it is currently against the law to operate text based functions while driving."

OK, so how does this work? Well remember, you still can't hold your phone or press any buttons on the phone. It does have to be hands free.

AB 1536 states "write, send, or read a text-based communication" means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail. I suppose "not limited to" would include things like Tweets, Facebook posts, etc.

We've had our "no texting while driving" law in place since January 1, 2009. It was only a matter of time that an exception be made. Allowing hands-free text messaging no doubt is much more important than things like unemployment and education in our state, right?

Ford has a voice-activated system called "Sync" in its cars that, among other things, allows you to listen to incoming texts on your phone and "respond with a set of up to 15 preset outgoing messages such as 'Can't talk right now' or 'Where are you?'"

Yay!! Can't wait to get in the car to text my friends and family!! Yippee!!