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Keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, to text while driving with hands-free technology

A driver uses a phone while behind the wheel of a car on April 30, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 19:00:36-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Texting while driving is now illegal in Florida, but there are ways you can still send a text without ever taking your eyes off the road and your hands off the steering wheel.

The safest thing to do if you have to send a text message or search through your phone is pull over into a parking lot or gas station, but if you have the technology, there are ways you can command your car or phone to send the message for you.

"Did you know that starting today texting while driving is illegal now?" Delray Beach Police Officer Henry Lugo asked a driver he just pulled over.

Right now, law enforcement is in the education phase.

There are features in your car and on your phone that can help you go completely hands-free.

"There's a ton of apps, like I'm using one here, called Android Auto where I can speak to my phone and ask it to message and send phone calls," said Alan Crowetz, WPTV tech expert with www.Infostream.cc.

Crowetz said even if your car does not have hands-free or voice-activated technology, Androids and iPhones have features and auto apps that can text for you.

"OK, Google, send a message to Chuck Poole, hello" Crowetz commanded his phone.

"Here's your message to Chuch Poole, 'hello', do you want to send it or change it," his phone replied.

Retired veteran Archie Shaw says he uses his car's technology for messaging and navigation without ever typing anything on the touchscreen.

"I don't have to look. I can just give a command and it takes care of it," he said.

Officer Lugo said during the six-month education phase of the law, he's advising drivers to look into hands-free options, but also warning drivers they can still be cited in the warning phase if they cause extreme dangerous driving situations.

Phones also have an option to block alerts, notifications, and text messages altogether. Just go to the control center and activate the do not disturb while driving feature.