Lawmaker gives thumbs down to 11-week-old hands-free texting law

It's been only 11 weeks since an exception allowing hands-free texting while driving took effect in California, but some lawmakers are giving it a thumbs down and want the change repealed.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) has sponsored AB 313, which would disallow even hands-free texting for drivers. The bill is due to be discussed in the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 8.

Frazier is talking about the kind of Bluetooth, voice-activated system that will read your text messages out loud and and allow you to dictate a reply.

"Who needs to do texting of any kind while driving?" said Frazier. “Is a text message really worth the risk of injuring or killing someone?”

California had banned motorists from texting while driving in 2009. But in July of last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1536, which allowed the exception of hands-free texting.

The law went into effect in January.

Frazier's push to eliminate the exception comes as new studies say the risk of even hands-free texting could be greater than previously believed.

One such study came from a collaboration among the Australian universities of Wollongong and Victoria, the Swinburne University of Technology, the Institute for Breathing and Sleep, and the University of Barcelona.

Its results showed that there were some situations in which the distraction of texting was worse than the impairment that comes from driving while drunk.

The study said that hands-free technology did not appear to significantly reduce risks.

The study also said that advanced hands-free technology ought to be studied further to know how the practice should be regulated.


Ford chief paid $21 million last year

2012 cars set new mpg record, but U.S. still lags

First time drunk driving conviction can cost nearly $16,000 in California

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Classic cars race at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

    Classic cars race at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

    Races are just one element of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, a three-day event that pits about 540 classic and vintage street and racing cars against one another. The cars are grouped into classes based on marque, engine size and era. Read more: Car collectors race pricey vintage vehicles

  • The 10 worst cars sold in America

    The 10 worst cars sold in America

    The 2001 Pontiac Aztek, the 1987 Yugo, the 1958 Edsel Corsair -- here's one list of the top 10 worst cars. What do you think?