Florida Senate - 2015                                     SB 246
       By Senator Sachs
       34-00292-15                                            2015246__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to texting while driving; amending s.
    3         316.305, F.S.; revising penalties for violations of
    4         the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law to
    5         include enhanced penalties for such violations when
    6         committed in a school zone or school crossing;
    7         removing the requirement that specified provisions be
    8         enforced as a secondary action by a law enforcement
    9         agency; providing an effective date.
   11  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   13         Section 1. Section 316.305, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   14  read:
   15         316.305 Wireless communications devices; prohibition.—
   16         (1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Ban on
   17  Texting While Driving Law.”
   18         (2) It is the intent of the Legislature to:
   19         (a) Improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators,
   20  vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road
   21  users.
   22         (b) Prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging
   23  while driving a motor vehicle.
   24         (c) Reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care
   25  costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates
   26  related to motor vehicle crashes.
   27         (d) Authorize law enforcement officers to stop motor
   28  vehicles and issue citations as a secondary offense to persons
   29  who are texting while driving.
   30         (3)(a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle while
   31  manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols,
   32  or other characters into a wireless communications device or
   33  while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose
   34  of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not
   35  limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing,
   36  and instant messaging. As used in this section, the term
   37  “wireless communications device” means a any handheld device
   38  used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, which that
   39  is designed or intended to receive or transmit text or
   40  character-based messages, access or store data, or connect to
   41  the Internet or any communications service as defined in s.
   42  812.15 and which that allows text communications. For the
   43  purposes of this paragraph, a motor vehicle that is stationary
   44  is not being operated and is not subject to the prohibition in
   45  this paragraph.
   46         (b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a motor vehicle
   47  operator who is:
   48         1. Performing official duties as an operator of an
   49  authorized emergency vehicle as defined in s. 322.01, a law
   50  enforcement or fire service professional, or an emergency
   51  medical services professional.
   52         2. Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious
   53  activity to law enforcement authorities.
   54         3. Receiving messages that are:
   55         a. Related to the operation or navigation of the motor
   56  vehicle;
   57         b. Safety-related information, including emergency,
   58  traffic, or weather alerts;
   59         c. Data used primarily by the motor vehicle; or
   60         d. Radio broadcasts.
   61         4. Using a device or system for navigation purposes.
   62         5. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that
   63  does not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or
   64  symbols, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature
   65  or function.
   66         6. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that
   67  does not require reading text messages, except to activate,
   68  deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.
   69         7. Operating an autonomous vehicle, as defined in s.
   70  316.003, in autonomous mode.
   71         (c) Only in the event of a crash resulting in death or
   72  personal injury, a user’s billing records for a wireless
   73  communications device or the testimony of or written statements
   74  from appropriate authorities receiving such messages may be
   75  admissible as evidence in any proceeding to determine whether a
   76  violation of paragraph (a) has been committed.
   77         (4)(a) A Any person who violates paragraph (3)(a) commits a
   78  noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving
   79  violation as provided in chapter 318. For a violation committed
   80  in a legally posted school zone or designated school crossing,
   81  the amount of the fine prescribed for the violation shall be
   82  doubled.
   83         (b) A Any person who commits a second or subsequent
   84  violation of paragraph (3)(a) within 5 years after the date of a
   85  prior conviction for a violation of paragraph (3)(a) commits a
   86  noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation
   87  as provided in chapter 318. For a violation committed in a
   88  legally posted school zone or designated school crossing,
   89  regardless of where the violation with respect to a prior
   90  conviction was committed, the amount of the fine prescribed for
   91  the violation shall be doubled.
   92         (5) Enforcement of this section by state or local law
   93  enforcement agencies must be accomplished only as a secondary
   94  action when an operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for
   95  a suspected violation of another provision of this chapter,
   96  chapter 320, or chapter 322.
   97         Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2015.