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Movement to Ban Hands-Free Driving-While-Texting Grows

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Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM

click to enlarge TRAVIS HORNUNG / FLICKR
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We told you recently how the AAA was recommending that lawmakers look at all the things you can do with high-tech, in-car infotainment systems, including updating Facebook and checking and sending email.

It's a huge distraction, the organization says. One California lawmaker was already on the same page, proposing to outlaw hands-free communication while driving. Until ...

... last week.

That's when assembly bill AB 313 by Jim Frazier of Sacramento appeared to lose support from key members of the legislature, a representative of the lawmaker told us.

The bill was heard and failed in the Appropriations Committee, after which three key supporters flip-flopped and walked away, the rep said.

The proposal was "parked" for the year and will likely be reintroduced next year.

You might be yawning, but this is how laws are made.

The days of talking to Siri while driving could be seriously numbered, especially after the AAA said that "in-vehicle, voice-activated email features" taxed a driver's mental workload more than listening to music or talking hands-free.

The group appears to be on a wave toward banning using hands-free tech while behind the wheel.

AB 313 would have done just that:

This bill would delete the exception to that prohibition for the use, while driving, of an electronic wireless communications device that is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication.

Siri is safe ... for now.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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