SB 1

Sponsor
Session
Regular Session 2019
Title
Cell phones and other wireless telecommunication devices, use while holding or touching devise prohibited, penalties, exceptions, Sec. 32-5A-350 am'd.
Description

Under existing law, it is unlawful to write, send, or read a text-based communication using a wireless telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway, subject to certain penalties

This bill would prohibit the use of a wireless telecommunications device or other stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle and holding the device and would provide penalties

Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose

The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment

Relating to motor vehicles; to amend Section 32-5A-350 of the Code of Alabama 1975, to prohibit the use of a wireless telecommunications device or other stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway; to provide exceptions; to provide penalties; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Subjects
Cellular Telephones
View Original PDF: SB 1 - Introduced - PDF

Under existing law, it is unlawful to write, send, or read a text-based communication using a wireless telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway, subject to certain penalties

This bill would prohibit the use of a wireless telecommunications device or other stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle and holding the device and would provide penalties

Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose

The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment

Relating to motor vehicles; to amend Section 32-5A-350 of the Code of Alabama 1975, to prohibit the use of a wireless telecommunications device or other stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway; to provide exceptions; to provide penalties; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Section 1

Section 32-5A-350 of the Code of Alabama 1975, is amended to read as follows:

§32-5A-350.

(a) For purposes of this article, the following words have the following meanings:

(1) STAND-ALONE ELECTRONIC DEVICE. A device other than a wireless telecommunications device which stores audio or video data files to be retrieved on demand by a user.

(1)(2) WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATION TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVICE. A handheld cellular telephone, a portable telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a stand alone computer, a global positioning system receiver, or any other similar portable wireless device that is readily removable from a vehicle and is used to write, send, or read text or data through manual input initiate or receive communications, information, or data. The term "wireless telecommunication telecommunications device" does not include a device which is voice-operated and which allows the user to send or receive a text-based communication without the use of either hand except to activate or deactivate a feature or function radio, citizens band radio, citizens band radio hybrid, commercial two-way radio communication device or its functional equivalent, subscription based emergency communication device, prescribed medical device, amateur or ham radio device, or in-vehicle security, navigation, or remote diagnostics system.

(2) WRITE, SEND, OR READ A TEXT-BASED COMMUNICATION. Using a wireless telecommunication device to manually communicate with any person using text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail. The term does not include reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number or name in a cell or wireless telephone or communication device for the purpose of making a telephone call.

(b) A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway in Alabama while using a wireless telecommunication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

(b) A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway of this state and may not engage in any actions which distract the driver from the safe operation of the vehicle.

(c) The driver of a motor vehicle may not do any of the following:

(1) Physically hold or support a wireless telecommunications device, with any part of his or her body. This subdivision does not prohibit the use of an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice based communication.

(2) Physically hold or support a stand-alone electronic device with any part of his or her body.

(3) Write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device. This subdivision does not apply to either of the following:

a. A voice based communication which is automatically converted by the device to be sent as a message in a written form.

b. The use of the device for navigation of the vehicle or for global positioning system purposes.

(4) Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device other than watching data related to the navigation of the vehicle.

(5) Record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device. This subdivision does not apply to electronic devices used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting a video within or outside of the motor vehicle.

(e) While operating a commercial motor vehicle on any public road, street or highway of this state, no person shall do either of the following:

(1) Use more than a single button on a wireless telecommunications device to initiate or terminate a voice communication.

(2) Reach for a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device if the driver is no longer seated in the driving position or properly restrained by a safety belt.

(f) Each violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

(c)(g) A person who violates subsection (b) this section is subject to fines as follows:

(1) Twenty-five dollars ($25) Fifty dollars ($50) for a first violation.

(2) Fifty dollars ($50) One hundred dollars ($100) for a second violation.

(3) Seventy-five dollars ($75) One hundred and fifty dollars ($150) for a third or subsequent violation.

(h) Any person appearing before a court for a first charge of violating subsection (f) who produces in court a device or proof of purchase of a device that would allow the person to comply with this section in the future shall not be guilty of an offense. The court shall require the person to affirm that he or she has not previously utilized the privilege under this subsection.

(d) (i) Law enforcement officers enforcing this section may treat a violation of this section as the primary or sole reason for issuing a citation to a driver.

(e) (j) The following uses of a wireless communication devices telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device shall not be subject to the restrictions in this section:

(1) An individual using a wireless communication device to obtain emergency services including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.

(2) An individual using a wireless communication device while the motor vehicle is parked on the shoulder of the highway, road, or street.

(3) An individual using a wireless communication device as a global positioning or navigation system to receive driving directions which has been pre-programmed with the desired coordinates. The programming of coordinates while operating a vehicle remains a violation of this section.

(4) A law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, ambulance driver, or other similarly employed public safety first responder using a device during the performance of his or her official duties."

Section 2

Although this bill would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds, the bill is excluded from further requirements and application under Amendment 621, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, because the bill defines a new crime or amends the definition of an existing crime.

Section 3

This act shall become effective October 1, 2019 following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

No articles found.
Action Date Chamber Action
March 5, 2019SRead for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary