SACRAMENTO, CA - Hands free texting will soon be legal in California.
Under legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, California motorists can dictate, send or listen to text-based messages while they're behind the wheel if they're using voice-activated, hands-free devices.
The bill alters state law to treat texting much as it does wireless telephone calls. Now, motorists can engage in such activities provided that they are not holding cellular phones or other electronic devices.
But, just because its legal, doesn't necessarily means it's safe or a good idea.
"Operating a car, a 3,000-pound vehicle, traveling 60 mph down the road is already a dangerous thing," Office of Traffic Safety Spokesperson Chris Cochran said. "So for safety sake do away with all the distractions."
Cochran said studies show it is distracting to talk or text on the phone using either hands free or hand held devices. Hands-free, allows you to have two hands on the wheel, but it still distracts your brain from the road.
The office of traffic safety said the safest way to drive on the road would be a total ban on phones in the car. But, that's not always so practical in this evolving world, and not always as appealing to lawmakers as they pass legislation.
"We'll actively strive for getting that to be what people's behavior is," Cochran said. "The laws will be enacted as the legislature wishes and we will just strive for what's the safest thing."
The law goes into affect Jan. 1, 2013.