Under legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law today, 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.
Brown's signing of Assembly Bill 1536 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.
Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, paints AB 1536, which takes effect Jan. 1, as allowing drivers to use the "most modern communications systems and devices while maintaining the safety of hands-free operation," according to a legislative committee analysis.
Miller contends that Americans spend an average of 64 minutes per day commuting to and from work, and that it is "unfair to require them to be out of touch while behind the wheel as long as they are abiding by the law," the analysis said.
Other bills Brown signed today included Assembly Bill 1047, to prohibit law enforcement from conducting motorcycle-only checkpoints, and Assembly Bill 1854 to bar the rewiring of an airbag safety system to indicate it is functional when it is not.