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. 10 11 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 12 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 offenseto 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 anyhandheld device 38 used or capable of being used in a handheld manner, which that39 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 thatallows 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 Anyperson 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 Anyperson 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 law93 enforcement agencies must be accomplished only as a secondary94 action when an operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for95 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.