HB 299

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the use of wireless communications
3devices while driving; creating s. 316.305, F.S.;
4creating the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving
5Law"; providing legislative intent; prohibiting the
6operation of a motor vehicle while using a wireless
7communications device for certain purposes; providing
8a definition; providing exceptions; specifying
9information that is admissible as evidence of a
10violation; providing penalties; providing for
11enforcement as a secondary action; amending s. 322.27,
12F.S.; providing for points to be assessed against a
13driver's license for the unlawful use of a wireless
14communications device resulting in a crash; providing
15an effective date.
17Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
19     Section 1.  Section 316.305, Florida Statutes, is created
20to read:
21     316.305  Wireless communications devices; prohibition.-
22     (1)  This section may be cited as the "Florida Ban on
23Texting While Driving Law."
24     (2)  It is the intent of the Legislature to:
25     (a)  Improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators,
26vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road
28     (b)  Prevent crashes related to the act of text messaging
29while driving a motor vehicle.
30     (c)  Reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care
31costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates
32related to motor vehicle crashes.
33     (d)  Authorize law enforcement officers to stop motor
34vehicles and issue citations as a secondary offense to persons
35who are texting while driving.
36     (3)(a)  A person may not operate a motor vehicle while
37manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols,
38or other characters into a wireless communications device or
39while sending or reading data in such a device for the purpose
40of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not
41limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing,
42and instant messaging. As used in this section, the term
43"wireless communications device" means any device that is
44designed or intended to receive or transmit text or character-
45based messages, access or store data, or connect to the Internet
46or any communications service as defined in s. 812.15 and that
47allows text communications. A motor vehicle that is legally
48parked is not being operated and is not subject to the
49prohibition in this paragraph.
50     (b)  This subsection does not apply to a motor vehicle
51operator who is:
52     1.  Performing official duties as an operator of an
53authorized emergency vehicle as defined in s. 322.01, a law
54enforcement or fire service professional, or an emergency
55medical services professional.
56     2.  Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious
57activity to law enforcement authorities.
58     3.  Receiving messages that are:
59     a.  Related to the operation or navigation of the motor
61     b.  Safety-related information, including emergency,
62traffic, or weather alerts;
63     c.  Data used primarily by the motor vehicle; or
64     d.  Radio broadcasts.
65     4.  Using a device or system for navigation purposes.
66     5.  Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that
67does not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or
68symbols or reading text messages, except to activate,
69deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.
70     (c)  A user's billing records for a wireless communications
71device or the testimony of or written statements from
72appropriate authorities receiving such messages may be
73admissible as evidence in any proceeding to determine whether a
74violation of this section has been committed.
75     (4)(a)  Any person who violates subsection (3) commits a
76noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving
77violation as provided in chapter 318.
78     (b)  Any person who commits a second or subsequent
79violation of subsection (3) within 5 years after the date of a
80prior conviction for a violation of subsection (3) commits a
81noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation
82as provided in chapter 318.
83     (5)  Enforcement of this section by state or local law
84enforcement agencies must be accomplished only as a secondary
85action when an operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for
86a suspected violation of another provision of this chapter,
87chapter 320, or chapter 322.
88     Section 2.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (3) of section
89322.27, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
90     322.27  Authority of department to suspend or revoke
92     (3)  There is established a point system for evaluation of
93convictions of violations of motor vehicle laws or ordinances,
94and violations of applicable provisions of s. 403.413(6)(b) when
95such violations involve the use of motor vehicles, for the
96determination of the continuing qualification of any person to
97operate a motor vehicle. The department is authorized to suspend
98the license of any person upon showing of its records or other
99good and sufficient evidence that the licensee has been
100convicted of violation of motor vehicle laws or ordinances, or
101applicable provisions of s. 403.413(6)(b), amounting to 12 or
102more points as determined by the point system. The suspension
103shall be for a period of not more than 1 year.
104     (d)  The point system shall have as its basic element a
105graduated scale of points assigning relative values to
106convictions of the following violations:
107     1.  Reckless driving, willful and wanton-4 points.
108     2.  Leaving the scene of a crash resulting in property
109damage of more than $50-6 points.
110     3.  Unlawful speed, or unlawful use of a wireless
111communications device, resulting in a crash-6 points.
112     4.  Passing a stopped school bus-4 points.
113     5.  Unlawful speed:
114     a.  Not in excess of 15 miles per hour of lawful or posted
115speed-3 points.
116     b.  In excess of 15 miles per hour of lawful or posted
117speed-4 points.
118     6.  A violation of a traffic control signal device as
119provided in s. 316.074(1) or s. 316.075(1)(c)1.-4 points.
120However, no points shall be imposed for a violation of s.
121316.074(1) or s. 316.075(1)(c)1. when a driver has failed to
122stop at a traffic signal and when enforced by a traffic
123infraction enforcement officer. In addition, a violation of s.
124316.074(1) or s. 316.075(1)(c)1. when a driver has failed to
125stop at a traffic signal and when enforced by a traffic
126infraction enforcement officer may not be used for purposes of
127setting motor vehicle insurance rates.
128     7.  All other moving violations (including parking on a
129highway outside the limits of a municipality)-3 points. However,
130no points shall be imposed for a violation of s. 316.0741 or s.
131316.2065(12); and points shall be imposed for a violation of s.
132316.1001 only when imposed by the court after a hearing pursuant
133to s. 318.14(5).
134     8.  Any moving violation covered in this paragraph above,
135excluding unlawful speed and unlawful use of a wireless
136communications device, resulting in a crash-4 points.
137     9.  Any conviction under s. 403.413(6)(b)-3 points.
138     10.  Any conviction under s. 316.0775(2)-4 points.
139     Section 3.  This act shall take effect October 1, 2012.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.