On January 1, California prohibited persons from texting while driving. This new law, found in California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5, covers activities beyond text messaging. Specifically, the section states
A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication.
The code further states that this prohibition applies to text messages, instant messages and electronic mails. Now, for the strange part. The code specifically excludes “read[ing], select[ing] or enter[ing] a telephone number or name … for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.” So, some form of text input is apparently safe, but not others.
The real quirk is the focus on text-based communication. Video conferencing? Gaming? Entering text into an electronic diary? Maintaining a to-do list? Not prohibited by this law.