California teenagers are already prohibited from texting while driving or talking on their mobile cell phone even if they’re using a hands-free set. However, that law could soon get a lot tougher. A new proposed legislation would prohibit texting while driving for teenage drivers, even if they are using a voice-operated device.
SB 194 has been introduced by Sen. Cathleen Gagliani Democrat-Stockton. The legislation would expand the existing law to cover all wireless electronic communication devices. That means that if the bill is passed, teenagers in California will no longer be able to text while driving using voice-activated technology like the Siri voice integration technology that is available in several automobiles. The legislation would also cover voice-activated, hands-free options like the Bluetooth voice buttons that are available in some automobiles.
This law would strengthen the existing restrictions on texting while driving for teen drivers in California. Any car accident lawyer would support legislation like this, which reduces the risk of distraction for teenage drivers. There is sufficient research that indicates that a teenage motorist’s risk of distractions exist not only when he is using a manual texting device or a handheld cell phone, but also while using a voice-operated system to dictate a text message, or have a text message read out to him while driving.
This distraction is not just physical in nature. It is also cognitive, and researchers believe that when a person is concentrating on another task besides driving, it takes attention away from the road. The distraction can be serious enough to result in an accident. The announcement of this legislation coincides with statistics released by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association which shows that teenage accident fatalities in California are on the increase again.
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