Frazier’s AB313 Would Ban Hands-Free Texting While Driving



Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) is looking to introduce a bill that will ban hands-free texting while driving. The legislation doesn’t go after hands-free calling, but supporters of the bill say there’s a difference.

Assembly Bill 313 was introduced by freshman Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley.

State law currently prohibits drivers from texting with hand-held devices, but not those that operate on voice commands.  AB 313 would delete the existing exception for voice-controlled texting devices.

According to ABC7, here is what Frazier has to say about the potential bill.

“The average time for looking and being distracted is about 4.6 seconds and at 55 miles an hour, that’s almost a football field that you’re not paying attention to the drivers around you and that’s not OK,” Assm. Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, said.

Frazier cites a new Virginia Tech study that shows hands-free texting is actually just as dangerous as traditional texting. Researchers found voice-controlled texted required higher mental demand and longer glances away from the road.

The Democrat Assemblyman also laments numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries a year involve cellphone use as a major distraction.

Frazier says, for now, no. He’s just trying to make roads safer after having lost a daughter to a crash unrelated to texting.

“As a father who lost a child in a car accident, I don’t want anybody to ever have to go through what I did,” he said.


My first thought was pretty much too outright “reject” this idea, but the more I thought about it the more I think AB313 makes perfect sense as technology improves. When you get down to the core of what driving is, it’s to get from Point A to Point B safely—not trying to multitask by texting or voice-texting.

I can live with this as it doesn’t ban hands free talking.

We live in a fast paced society where we sometimes take the basic things for granted, such as driving. We try to do too much at one time and it’s distracting. I did a little test this morning trying to text (easier) while I found voice-texting much more difficult. I really don’t know how that happened but it’s what I found going down Empire Road this morning about 6:00 am.

This Bill is about safety and making our roads safer, nothing more! This isn’t about being a “nanny state” or restricting drivers as some may claim, rather safety is the name of the game. Think about all the accidents that occur that are unnecessary from distracted driving. It’s time to get back to basics on our roads and have a higher standard.

This one is pretty much low hanging fruit to pick at from simple minded people, but I guarantee once you or someone you know is effected by distracted driving from a text or voice-text, I am sure you will come to appreciate what the Assemblyman is driving to do.

Having lost a daughter to a car accident, he doesn’t want you to feel his pain, you should be thankful he is looking out for you.

As for O’Von Pettaway who is quoted as stating “I think you can multi-task in a car and still be an effective, safe driver,” Pettaway said.

I completely disagree, in a vehicle which people need to remember it is considered a weapon and you will be charged if an accident occurs.  No one should be multi-tasking, instead, one  should be focusing on the road and drivers around you along with the surroundings. Getting things done should not be the priority on the road, getting from point A to point b safely should be the priority.

I say kudos to Assemblyman Frazier for taking a topic such as this which will bring him heat, but if it saves just 1-life, its all worth it. This one shows true leadership in tackling a major problem in road safety.

Here is the Text of the AB313


AB 313, as introduced, Frazier. Vehicles: electronic wireless communications devices: prohibitions.

Under existing law, a person is prohibited from driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the person is using 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, and it is used in that manner while driving. A violation of this provision is an infraction.

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. The bill would make a related statement of legislative intent regarding distracted driving. By expanding the scope of a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Digest Key

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES

Bill Text

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2011, more than 3,300 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. Approximately 400,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

(b) New research published in 2012 indicates that the increase in cognitive load and decrease in working memory when talking or texting while driving increases crash risk significantly.

(c) Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

(d) Eleven percent of all drivers under 20 years of age involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

(e) A vast majority of research suggests that there is no difference in the crash risk of hand-held or voice-operated devices. Furthermore, no study has determined that texting while driving is safe.

(f) Drivers are four times more likely to crash while talking hands free on a phone, which is the same crash risk as driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08.

(g) Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which, at 60 miles per hour, is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind.

(h) Text messaging while driving creates a crash risk of 8 to 23 times that of driving while not distracted.

(i) Nine out of ten drivers support laws that ban texting.

SEC. 2.

Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:


(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.

(b) As used in this section “write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.

(c) For purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to be writing, reading, or sending a text-based communication if the person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call or if a person otherwise activates or deactivates a feature or function on an electronic wireless communications device.

(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.

SEC. 3.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution.



  1. As someone who has been hit by a “distracted drive”, I support the assemblyman in this bill. Way to go!

  2. I heard about this on the radio last night and here’s my thoughts:

    There are many things in a car that can cause distracted driving – changing the radio station, adjusting the heater/ac, smoking, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, looking in the mirrors, digging in your purse, rolling the window, I could go on.

    Picking up my phone and activating SIRI to talk to – how is that any more of a distraction than the items mentioned above? I can’t hold my phone but I can hold my hairbrush. Where/when do we draw the line?

    Treasure’s iPhone

  3. It’s about time! All types of distracted driving leads to slow downs (traffic), accidents and injuries. I’ll bet everyone reading this blog has been affected by a distracted driver using a smart (cell) phone. I’ll also bet every driver reading this, has been behind someone who was driving and using a cell phone that was not paying attention – because their heads were wrapped up in a phone or text conversation.

    Personally, I see it every day and it is out of control.

    Many other states have a zero tolerance. Time for California to catch up and act responsibly.

  4. It is has been proven in studies that Texting while driving is as dangerous or more dangerous than driving under the influence DUI. So with that said, it’s time to increase the penalty for TWD to equal DUI.

  5. I am all for this, nothing worse than some idiot driver texting and not paying attention. Look at the headlines to most accidents, its not because people are on the phone talking, its because they were texting looking down at their phone. Any reduction in distracted driving is a positive, no matter how inconvenient. I’d rather be inconvenienced than end up in a hospital or worse, dead!

    Burkholder is right, this is back to basics when one really looks at it. We drive to get to point a to point b, not use our vehicles as a mobile office or social hour.

  6. I’m all for this, but it’s very obvious that our laws do not persuade people. Getting in their wallet big time might.

  7. Actually, I believe the fines are pretty substantial. While the “base fine” is low, the extra’s that most jurisdictions add on….adds up. I recently heard that a ticket for driving while using a cell phone will cost over 200.00 by the time all fines are collected. Unfortunately, most people think the ticket will only cost them 20.00. Wrong.

    Educating the public might not hurt and could go a long way towards getting people to hang up and drive!

  8. I agree with you there Frank! I’ve never had one, but I hear they will set you back 10k or so.

    That would probably get most people to put their phones down. Not all, but most.

  9. Mike, not attacking, but really. There is not a call or text that can’t wait. We got this far before cell phones. People are obsessed, they can’t do anything with out them, and I mean anything.

    • I agree with you. You are not attacking at all. It’s simple, get to point a and to point b without incident. Vehicles are not meant to be mobile offices.

  10. Can’t believe this topic only got so few comments. No one speaks in favor of TWD but where ever you look they are doing it

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