Hands-Free Texting May Duck State Safety Laws

Some automakers are incorporating hands-free text-messaging technology into their vehicles, the Washington Post reports. Because it does not require the use of hands, this capability may be legal in states with laws against texting and driving.

Concerns over the dangers of distracted driving have led 34 states to pass laws against texting and driving so far, four of them this year. According to some manufacturers, the hands-free capability of the new devices will make the roads safer.

Others argue the technology encourages drivers to split their attention and may be a way to circumvent a needed safety law. Among the new developments is the use of pre-set messages that a driver can quickly send as a response without needing to type his or her own. These may indicate dense traffic, lateness or inform the other individual the driver cannot talk, for example.

Aside from the legal ramifications of the technology, another concern is the affect on auto insurance rates. In the past, rates have been decreased for drivers who selected vehicles with optional safety features. If insurers determine the presence of hands-free texting devices increases risk, they may feel compelled to increase rates to compensate.

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