In California, drivers have long been subject to a law preventing them from talking or texting on their cellphones while behind the wheel. Barring that ability, many people on the road have turned to technologies that enable them to send their messages simply by speaking them aloud. However, that activity could soon be banned if one lawmaker gets his way.
An Assemblyman from Oakley has introduced a measure that would ban even hands-free text messaging while driving. In attempting to drum up support for the measure, he points to a study from Virginia Tech which shows that voice-activated texting can be just as hazardous as the more traditional messaging option. The reason has to do with the fact that an individual’s mind is still being taken off the road, and their eyes could follow if they look down to ensure that the message was translated appropriately by the software.
No hearings on the bill will likely occur for another few months, but the measure already has its opponents. Some people believe this will provide a stepping stone to further restrictions, envisioning a world where even hands-free talking on a phone is banned at the wheel.
Time will tell if lawmakers eventually come around to banning this practice. But in the meantime, drivers should do what they can to remove distractions from their driving. If there’s even a chance that focus could be removed from the road by voice messaging, shouldn’t we simply refrain from the practice altogether, law or no law?