A bill recently introduced by an Assemblyman from Oakley has some Californians up in arms. Distracted driving laws in the state work as follows: texting at the wheel is illegal, as is using a handheld phone to carry on a conversation. But exemptions are currently made for texting and talking on a voice-activated device that does not require one’s hands to manipulate. But the newly introduced bill would eliminate one part of that exemption, making even hands-free texting illegal.
This doesn’t sit well with some people who feel that making a judgment as to whether a driver was texting or doing something else would be impossible. If the phone is out of sight, some argue that an officer would be unable to tell if the individual at the wheel is talking with a passenger, or if they’re alone, singing to the song that’s currently on the radio.
The senior editor at Reason Magazine sums up the issue succinctly, saying that such a ban would need to be accompanied by a series of other laws that we’re not yet ready to make. Conversations of all sorts, he says, could be looked upon as a distraction, as could certain other types of activities. He acknowledges the danger of texting, but argues that regulation in this regard wouldn’t help matters.
The editorial from the Orange County Register thus calls for lawmakers to reject this proposal.