ORLAND PARK, Ill.--()--Effective January 1, 2013, California’s “Freedom to Communicate” bill will allow California drivers to use handsfree technology to talk and text while driving. Under measure AB 1536, approved devices consist of those “specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and handsfree operation to dictate, send or listen to a text-based communication.”
“I can relate to the frustration of many Californians who were unable to communicate with friends, family and business partners while driving because it is currently against the law to operate text based functions while driving.”
California had outlawed the operation of text-based functions while driving, following dozens of other states in addressing the texting-while-driving issue. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 39 states, as well as D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands, ban text messaging for all drivers. In addition, 32 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.
Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, sponsored the bill and called it “a huge victory for commuters.” Miller added, “I can relate to the frustration of many Californians who were unable to communicate with friends, family and business partners while driving because it is currently against the law to operate text based functions while driving.”
In order to comply with the California regulations, drivers must use devices or systems with voice triggers. That feature enables them to call and text handsfree without touching a button. California Highway Patrol considers the act of turning on a phone or pushing any kind of button to get a voice interaction enough to warrant a citation. CHP spokeswoman Jaime Coffee says, “The phone can’t be in your hands. Handsfree is the key.”
Solutions available to consumers include infotainment systems in cars and one aftermarket device in particular. BlueAnt Wireless, developers of high-performance, cutting-edge products, this month launched the Commute Voice Activated Handsfree Car Kit ($99.99). It is the only truly handsfree aftermarket device that allows California drivers to comply with the new law. Using the Commute, drivers can make and receive calls, send and read text messages and stream audio, all without taking their hands off the wheel.
“Our objective in developing the Commute was to provide commuters with a cell phone experience in the car that is legal, safe and convenient,” said BlueAnt founder Taisen Maddern. “The Commute is the only Bluetooth device on the market that allows users to send and read messages totally handsfree. It also gives users the ability to execute a number of tasks, like making a phone call or responding to an email, just as they would outside the vehicle, but with their eyes on the road at all times.”
Compatible with Siri and Google Voice Actions*, drivers can dial a contact from their phonebook or answer a call on the road simply by saying, “launch voice control.” Incoming caller names are conveniently announced, eliminating the need to check caller ID.
California’s fines for cell phone use and text messaging behind the wheel are $20 for the first offense and $50 for other convictions. The Los Angeles Times reports that, “with court costs and penalties, the true costs of those tickets are $76 and $190, respectively.”
About BlueAnt Wireless
BlueAnt Wireless is a global technology company that provides the most innovative Bluetooth peripheral devices and accessories on the market. The company’s product portfolio includes handsfree, stereo audio streaming and wireless communications products with cutting-edge technology, design and features. BlueAnt’s products have been recognized for advancements in handsfree communications by receiving numerous prestigious industry awards. The company is based in Melbourne, Australia, with offices in Chicago and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit www.blueantwireless.com.
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*Google Voice Actions is available on select Android handsets. Siri is available on the iPhone5 and iPhone4S.