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Gov. Brown OKs hands free voice texting bill

July 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many mobile devices now have speech recognition technology, allowing people to have a text message read to them or to send a text message by dictation. It's popularized by the iPhone 4S Siri feature.

It's so convenient, Siri users drive while holding their iPhone and dictating a text -- a big no-no. But people do it anyway.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that now clarifies sending and receiving text messages through voice recognition is OK as long as it is hands free.

The auto industry really pushed for this because many vehicles will have that capability.

"We have two models with that functionality right now. With the 2013 models, and next year, we're looking to have every model having that capability," said Jared Ivey with Acura.

The CHP did had some input in the law. They recognize technology is changing but were adamant about keeping the devices hands-free.

Still, officers want Californians to recognize that not everyone can multitask.

"Some individuals can do this while driving a vehicle, but there's others that can't do anything but drive a vehicle and they need to focus on just driving," said Adrian Quintero of the CHP.

Tim Bloom was unclear about the law too and now understands what's allowed starting January 1 on his Android.

"I think it's a good idea to have a law that lets me with one button talk to whoever I need to talk to and get the message out," he said.


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