House Study Bill 171 - Introduced HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION BILL BY CHAIRPERSON BYRNES) A BILL FOR An Act prohibiting the use of electronic communication devices 1 while driving, providing exceptions, and making penalties 2 applicable. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 4 TLSB 1913YC (2) 86 ns/nh
H.F. _____ Section 1. Section 321.276, subsection 1, Code 2015, is 1 amended by striking the subsection and inserting in lieu 2 thereof the following: 3 1. For purposes of this section: 4 a. “Electronic communication device” means an electronic 5 device capable of being used to compose, read, or send an 6 electronic message. “Electronic communication device” includes 7 but is not limited to telephones, personal digital assistants, 8 and portable or mobile computers. 9 b. “Electronic message” means a self-contained piece 10 of digital communication, whether verbal or written, that 11 is designed or intended to be transmitted between physical 12 devices. “Electronic message” includes but is not limited to 13 telephone calls, video calls, electronic mail, text messages, 14 instant messages, and commands or requests to access an 15 internet site. 16 Sec. 2. Section 321.276, subsections 2 and 3, Code 2015, are 17 amended to read as follows: 18 2. A person shall not use a hand-held an electronic 19 communication device to write, send, or read a text message 20 while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a 21 complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway. 22 a. A person does not violate this section by using a global 23 positioning system or navigation system or when, for the 24 purpose of engaging in a call, the person selects or enters a 25 telephone number or name in a hand-held mobile telephone or 26 activates, deactivates, or initiates a function of a hand-held 27 mobile telephone by using an electronic communication device in 28 a hands-free or voice-activated mode . 29 b. The provisions of this subsection relating to reading a 30 text message the use of an electronic communication device do 31 not apply to the following persons: 32 (1) A member of a public safety agency, as defined in 33 section 34.1 , performing official duties. 34 (2) A health care professional in the course of an emergency 35 -1- LSB 1913YC (2) 86 ns/nh 1/ 3
H.F. _____ situation. 1 (3) A person sending or receiving safety-related 2 information including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts. 3 c. The exceptions provided in paragraph “a” and paragraph 4 “b” , subparagraph (3), shall not apply to any of the following: 5 (1) A person operating a motor vehicle in a school district. 6 (2) A person operating a motor vehicle in a road work zone. 7 (3) A person issued a driver’s license under section 8 321.178A, 321.180, 321.180A, 321.180B, 321.181, or 321.194. 9 (4) A person issued a temporary restricted license under 10 section 321.215 or 321J.20. 11 3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize 12 a peace officer to confiscate a portable an electronic 13 communication device from the driver or occupant of a motor 14 vehicle. 15 Sec. 3. Section 321.276, subsection 5, Code 2015, is amended 16 by striking the subsection. 17 Sec. 4. Section 805.8A, subsection 14, paragraph l, Code 18 2015, is amended to read as follows: 19 l. Text-messaging Use of electronic communication devices 20 while driving violations. For violations under section 321.276 , 21 the scheduled fine is thirty dollars. 22 EXPLANATION 23 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 24 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 25 This bill relates to the use of electronic communication 26 devices while driving and makes penalties applicable. 27 Current law prohibits the use of an electronic device to 28 write, send, or read a text message while operating a motor 29 vehicle. The bill expands this prohibition to include any 30 electronic message, including telephone calls. The bill 31 provides an exception allowing the use of electronic devices in 32 a hands-free or voice-activated mode. 33 The bill does not change the existing exceptions for certain 34 persons under Code section 321.276, subsection 2, paragraph 35 -2- LSB 1913YC (2) 86 ns/nh 2/ 3
H.F. _____ “b”, including a member of a public safety agency performing 1 official duties, a health care professional in the course of 2 an emergency situation, and a person receiving safety-related 3 information including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts. 4 The bill also does not change the existing exception for use of 5 global positioning or navigation systems. However, the bill 6 provides that the exceptions relating to global positioning or 7 navigation systems, hands-free or voice activated mode, and 8 emergency, traffic, or weather alerts are not applicable within 9 200 feet of a school, in a road work zone, or to persons with 10 temporary, intermediate, instructional, or restricted licenses. 11 The bill eliminates a provision prohibiting a peace officer 12 from stopping or detaining a person solely for a violation of 13 Code section 321.276. 14 The bill rewords the applicable scheduled fine provision 15 to comply with the bill. The scheduled fine for a violation 16 of Code section 321.276 remains $30. Under current law, the 17 offense is not a moving violation, and therefore cannot be 18 considered for purposes of administrative suspension of a 19 driver’s license or to establish habitual offender status. 20 However, if the violation causes a serious injury, a court 21 could impose an additional fine of $500 or suspend the person’s 22 driver’s license for not more than 90 days, or both. If the 23 violation causes a death, a court could impose an additional 24 fine of $1,000 or suspend the person’s driver’s license for not 25 more than 180 days, or both. 26 -3- LSB 1913YC (2) 86 ns/nh 3/ 3