Florida Senate - 2019                               CS for SB 76
       By the Committee on Infrastructure and Security; and Senators
       Simpson, Passidomo, Hooper, Mayfield, Book, Rouson, Berman,
       Perry, Taddeo, and Cruz
       596-02505-19                                            201976c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to driving while distracted; amending
    3         s. 316.305, F.S.; revising the short title; defining
    4         the term “driving while distracted”; redefining the
    5         term “wireless communications device”; revising
    6         legislative intent; prohibiting a person from
    7         operating a motor vehicle when driving while
    8         distracted; authorizing a law enforcement officer
    9         during a specified period to stop motor vehicles to
   10         issue warnings to persons who are driving while
   11         distracted; providing for repeal of a provision;
   12         authorizing a law enforcement officer, after a
   13         specified date, to stop motor vehicles and issue
   14         citations to persons who are driving while distracted;
   15         revising exceptions to such prohibition; revising
   16         crash results for which a user’s billing records for a
   17         wireless communications device or the testimony of or
   18         written statements from certain authorities are
   19         admissible as evidence; requiring that law enforcement
   20         officers indicate specified information in the uniform
   21         traffic citation; providing penalties for driving
   22         while distracted; authorizing participation in a
   23         distracted driving safety program for a first offense,
   24         in lieu of specified penalties; authorizing a clerk of
   25         the court to dismiss a case and assess court costs
   26         under certain circumstances; requiring the deposit of
   27         fines into the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund;
   28         deleting a provision requiring that enforcement of
   29         this section be accomplished only as a secondary
   30         action; authorizing the Department of Highway Safety
   31         and Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the
   32         Department of Transportation, to implement a statewide
   33         campaign to raise awareness and prevent drivers from
   34         driving while distracted; authorizing the department
   35         to use certain messaging to implement the campaign;
   36         authorizing the department to contract with certain
   37         entities for certain purposes; providing contract
   38         authority; providing effective dates.
   40  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   42         Section 1. Effective October 1, 2019, section 316.305,
   43  Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   44         316.305 Driving while distracted Wireless communications
   45  devices; prohibition.—
   46         (1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Driving Ban
   47  on Texting While Distracted Driving Law.”
   48         (2) For purposes of this section, the term:
   49         (a) “Driving while distracted” means the inattentive
   50  operation of a motor vehicle. Inattentive or distracted driving
   51  conduct includes reading, writing, performing personal grooming,
   52  applying a beauty aid or similar products, interacting with pets
   53  or unsecured cargo, using a personal wireless communications
   54  device, or engaging in any other activity, conduct, task, or
   55  action that causes distraction.
   56         (b) “Wireless communications device” means any handheld
   57  device that is designed or intended to receive or transmit text-
   58  or character-based messages, to record or view images, to access
   59  or store data, or to connect to the Internet or any
   60  communications service, as defined in s. 812.15, or which allows
   61  text communications. The term includes, but is not limited to, a
   62  cell phone, a tablet, a laptop, a two-way messaging device, or
   63  an electronic game that is used or capable of being used in a
   64  handheld manner. The term does not include a safety, security,
   65  or convenience feature built into a motor vehicle which does not
   66  require the use of a handheld device.
   67         (3)(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to:
   68         (a) Improve roadway safety for all vehicle operators,
   69  vehicle passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other road
   70  users.
   71         (b) Prevent crashes related to the act of driving while
   72  distracted when operating text messaging while driving a motor
   73  vehicle.
   74         (c) Reduce injuries, deaths, property damage, health care
   75  costs, health insurance rates, and automobile insurance rates
   76  related to motor vehicle crashes.
   77         (d) Authorize law enforcement officers to stop motor
   78  vehicles and issue citations as a secondary offense to persons
   79  who are texting while driving while distracted as provided in
   80  subsection (4).
   81         (4)(3)(a)1. A person may not operate a motor vehicle when
   82  driving while distracted while manually typing or entering
   83  multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a
   84  wireless communications device or while sending or reading data
   85  on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal
   86  communication, including, but not limited to, communication
   87  methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. As
   88  used in this section, the term “wireless communications device”
   89  means any handheld device used or capable of being used in a
   90  handheld manner, that is designed or intended to receive or
   91  transmit text or character-based messages, access or store data,
   92  or connect to the Internet or any communications service as
   93  defined in s. 812.15 and that allows text communications. For
   94  the purposes of this paragraph, a motor vehicle that is
   95  stationary is not being operated and is not subject to the
   96  prohibition in this paragraph.
   97         2.a. During the period of October 1, 2019, through December
   98  31, 2019, a law enforcement officer may stop motor vehicles to
   99  issue verbal or written warnings to persons who are driving
  100  while distracted for the purposes of informing and educating
  101  such persons. This sub-subparagraph shall stand repealed on
  102  October 1, 2020.
  103         b. After December 31, 2019, a law enforcement officer may
  104  stop motor vehicles and issue citations to persons who are
  105  driving while distracted.
  106         (b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a motor vehicle
  107  operator who is:
  108         1. Performing official duties as an operator of an
  109  authorized emergency vehicle as defined in s. 322.01, a law
  110  enforcement or fire service professional, or an emergency
  111  medical services professional.
  112         2. Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious
  113  activity to law enforcement authorities.
  114         3. Receiving messages that are:
  115         a. Related to the operation or navigation of the motor
  116  vehicle;
  117         b. Safety-related information, including emergency,
  118  traffic, or weather alerts;
  119         c. Data used primarily by the motor vehicle; or
  120         d. Radio broadcasts.
  121         4. Using a device or system in a hands-free manner for
  122  navigation purposes.
  123         5. Using a wireless communications device hands-free or
  124  hands-free in voice-operated mode, including, but not limited
  125  to, a factory-installed or after-market Bluetooth device
  126  Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not
  127  require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols,
  128  except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or
  129  function.
  130         6. Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that
  131  does not require reading text messages, except to activate,
  132  deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.
  133         6.7. Operating an autonomous vehicle, as defined in s.
  134  316.003, in autonomous mode.
  135         (c) Only in the event of a crash resulting in death or
  136  serious bodily injury, as defined in s. 316.027 personal injury,
  137  a user’s billing records for a wireless communications device or
  138  the testimony of or written statements from appropriate
  139  authorities receiving such messages may be admissible as
  140  evidence in any proceeding to determine whether a violation of
  141  paragraph (a) has been committed.
  142         (d) Law enforcement officers must indicate the type of
  143  distraction in the comment section of the uniform traffic
  144  citation.
  145         (5)(4)(a) Any person who violates this section commits a
  146  noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving
  147  violation, as provided in chapter 318, and shall have 3 points
  148  assessed against his or her driver license as set forth in s.
  149  322.27. For a first offense under this section, in lieu of the
  150  penalty specified in s. 318.18 and the assessment of points, a
  151  person who violates this section may elect to participate in a
  152  distracted driving safety program approved by the Department of
  153  Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Upon completion of such
  154  program, the penalty specified in s. 318.18 and associated costs
  155  may be waived by the clerk of the court and the assessment of
  156  points must be waived Any person who violates paragraph (3)(a)
  157  commits a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a
  158  nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  159         (b) The clerk of the court may dismiss a case and assess
  160  court costs in accordance with s. 318.18(11)(a) for a nonmoving
  161  traffic infraction for a person who is cited for a first time
  162  violation of this section if the inattentive or distracted
  163  driving conduct resulting in the violation is for the use of a
  164  personal wireless communications device and the person shows the
  165  clerk proof of purchase of equipment that enables his or her
  166  personal wireless communications device to be used in a hands
  167  free manner Any person who commits a second or subsequent
  168  violation of paragraph (3)(a) within 5 years after the date of a
  169  prior conviction for a violation of paragraph (3)(a) commits a
  170  noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation
  171  as provided in chapter 318.
  172         (6)(5)Notwithstanding s. 318.21, all proceeds collected
  173  pursuant to s. 318.18 for violations of this section must be
  174  remitted to the Department of Revenue for deposit into the
  175  Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund of the Department of
  176  Health Enforcement of this section by state or local law
  177  enforcement agencies must be accomplished only as a secondary
  178  action when an operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for
  179  a suspected violation of another provision of this chapter,
  180  chapter 320, or chapter 322.
  181         Section 2. (1) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor
  182  Vehicles, in consultation with the Department of Transportation,
  183  may implement a statewide campaign to raise awareness and
  184  prevent drivers from driving while distracted. The Department of
  185  Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may use television messaging,
  186  radio broadcasts, print media, digital strategies, social media,
  187  and any other form of messaging deemed necessary and appropriate
  188  by the department to implement the campaign.
  189         (2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may
  190  contract with counties, local law enforcement agencies, safety
  191  councils, and public schools to assist with planning and
  192  conducting the statewide driving while distracted safety and
  193  public awareness campaign in a manner that encourages compliance
  194  with s. 316.305, Florida Statutes.
  195         Section 3. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  196  act, this act shall take effect July 1, 2019.