Is hands-free texting safe?

The answer to that question may not be known for some time. Currently in Florida texting while driving is legal. However, as we have discussed in previous posts, texting is a major distraction to drivers. Evidence that a driver has been texting or otherwise using their cell phone can be used against a driver if the driver has caused a car accident that resulted in serious injuries or a wrongful death.

Now, auto manufacturers are designing their cars with new technology that will allow drivers to text by barely using their hands. The hands-free technology will allow a driver to hear the message read aloud by a computer and afford a preset response or a transcription of an actual response.

Will this hands-free texting technology make Florida’s roads safer and less susceptible to distracted drivers? The answer to that question remains to be seen. In the meantime, if a Florida driver is using hands-free technology, whether it be for texting or for talking on the phone, those usage records could still be used as evidence to potentially prove that a driver was distracted at the time of an accident. Simply because a driver does not take his or her eyes off of the road does not mean that they were not distracted.

Technology always seems to be two steps ahead of the law. If Florida is considering enacting a law prohibiting texting while driving, it may be a good idea for legislators to consider that actual texting may become a thing of the past once all vehicles are equipped with hands-free texting systems. Perhaps in that case, any new legislation should take hands-free texting into account.

Source: The Washington Post, “Automakers embrace hands-free text-messaging technology,” Ashley Halsey III, Oct. 24, 2011