California Allows Text Messaging While Driving, Via Speech to Text Interface
Published on: 15th Jul 2012
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
By: Ian Mansfield
California's State Governor has signed a bill that would allow the use of mobile phones to send text messages while driving so long as the motorist does not touch the handset.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last week which legalises the sending of text messages -- which are currently forbidden -- but only if the user has some form of speech-to-text dictation service.
"There's all this brand-new technology coming out that people want to take advantage of and use, and under current law they are unable to do that," said the bill's author, Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, who said his "Freedom to Communicate" act was aimed at families. The bill was also sponsored by the auto industry.
However, there is confusion about the law as it does not seemingly allow the user to press a button on the handset to enable the speech-to-text function in the first place.
For example, Apple's Siri service appears to be still illegal as it requires at least one keypress on the handset before it will listen for the users speech.
Users are also unable to read any text messages on the screen.