ANNAPOLIS – Driving and texting while using voice recognition technology on smart phones is legal in Maryland, according to an advice letter from the Office of the Attorney General.
The advice letter, requested by Delegate Sam Arora, D-Montgomery, outlines that under the current wording of the texting ban legislation, texting using voice commands has always been allowed.
The texting ban, passed in 2009 and amended to include texting at stoplights in 2011 states, “a person may not use a text messaging device to write, send or read a text message or an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel portion of the roadway.”
“My job is to tell people what the law says, not tell them if I think it’s a good idea.” said Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe, who wrote the letter.
According to Arora, when the original texting bill was passed, “voice recognition software was not nearly as commonplace.”
Arora asked for the Attorney General’s opinion after introducing HB 163, a bill that would have removed the use of voice commands from the texting ban.
Arora wants the law to be clear for police officers so they will not be forced to make a judgment call as to whether voice command texting is a primary driving offense.