California has taking a step back from laws banning texting and emailing while driving. Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Freedom to Communicate" bill, which adds an exception to the original anti-texting law — despite the fact that the bill reportedly was followed by a 47% drop in cellphone-related traffic deaths.
The new law says texting while driving if your device is okay as long as you use a device "configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication."
Is this nuts? Anyone who has ever used Siri or other voice-operated software knows that dictating and sending emails or searching the Web while driving is an accident waiting to happen. These apps almost always require you to push some buttons or touch the screen because you say the wrong command or misdirect your phone to the wrong website, or does not hear your command clearly. You wind up looking at your phone’s screen and are driven to distraction.
Try to use your phone’s voice commands and tell me if you think it’s safe. At a time when California needs as many people paying taxes as possible, the state has once again lived up to its reputation for kookiness.