House Study Bill 139 - Introduced HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION BILL BY CHAIRPERSON CARLSON) A BILL FOR An Act relating to the use of electronic communication devices 1 while driving, and making penalties applicable. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 2062YC (1) 87 ns/nh
H.F. _____ Section 1. Section 321.210, subsection 2, paragraph e, Code 1 2017, is amended by striking the paragraph. 2 Sec. 2. Section 321.276, Code 2017, is amended to read as 3 follows: 4 321.276 Use of electronic communication device while driving 5 —— text-messaging . 6 1. For purposes of this section: 7 a. “Engage in a call” means talking or listening on a mobile 8 telephone or other portable electronic communication device. 9 “Electronic communication device” means an electronic device 10 capable of being used to compose, send, receive, or read an 11 electronic message. Electronic communication device” includes 12 but is not limited to telephones, personal digital assistants, 13 and portable or mobile computers. 14 b. “Hand-held electronic communication device” means a mobile 15 telephone or other portable electronic communication device 16 capable of being used to write, send, or read a text message. 17 “Hand-held electronic communication device” does not include a 18 voice-operated or hands-free device which allows the user to 19 write, send, or read a text message without the use of either 20 hand except to activate or deactivate a feature or function. 21 “Hand-held electronic communication device” does not include a 22 wireless communication device used to transmit or receive data 23 as part of a digital dispatch system. “Hand-held electronic 24 communication device” includes a device which is temporarily 25 mounted inside the motor vehicle, unless the device is a 26 voice-operated or hands-free device. “Electronic message” means 27 a self-contained piece of digital communication, whether verbal 28 or written, that is designed or intended to be transmitted 29 between electronic communication devices. “Electronic message” 30 includes but is not limited to telephone calls, video calls, 31 electronic mail, text messages, instant messages, and commands 32 or requests to access an internet site. 33 c. “Text message” includes a text-based message, an instant 34 message, and electronic mail. 35 -1- LSB 2062YC (1) 87 ns/nh 1/ 4
H.F. _____ d. The terms “write” , “send” , and “read” , with respect 1 to a text message, mean the manual entry, transmission, and 2 retrieval of a text message, respectively, to communicate with 3 any other person or device. 4 2. A person shall not use a hand-held an electronic 5 communication device to write, send, or read a text message 6 while driving a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is at a 7 complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway. 8 a. A person does not violate this section by using a global 9 positioning system or navigation system or when, for the 10 purpose of engaging in a call, the person selects or enters a 11 telephone number or name in a hand-held mobile telephone or 12 activates, deactivates, or initiates a function of a hand-held 13 mobile telephone by using an electronic communication device in 14 a hands-free mode . 15 b. The provisions of this subsection relating to reading a 16 text message the use of an electronic communication device do 17 not apply to the following persons: 18 (1) A member of a public safety agency, as defined in 19 section 34.1 , performing official duties. 20 (2) A health care professional in the course of an emergency 21 situation. 22 (3) A person sending or receiving safety-related 23 information including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts. 24 3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize 25 a peace officer to confiscate a portable an electronic 26 communication device from the driver or occupant of a motor 27 vehicle. 28 4. a. A person convicted of a violation of this section 29 is guilty of a simple misdemeanor punishable as a scheduled 30 violation under section 805.8A, subsection 14 , paragraph “l” . 31 b. A violation of this section shall not be considered a 32 moving violation for purposes of this chapter or rules adopted 33 pursuant to this chapter . 34 5. A peace officer shall not stop or detain a person solely 35 -2- LSB 2062YC (1) 87 ns/nh 2/ 4
H.F. _____ for a suspected violation of this section . This section is 1 enforceable by a peace officer only as a secondary action when 2 the driver of a motor vehicle has been stopped or detained for 3 a suspected violation of another provision of this chapter , a 4 local ordinance equivalent to a provision of this chapter , or 5 other law. 6 6. 5. The department, in cooperation with the department of 7 public safety, shall establish educational programs to foster 8 compliance with the requirements of this section . 9 Sec. 3. Section 321.555, subsection 2, Code 2017, is amended 10 to read as follows: 11 2. Six or more of any separate and distinct offenses within 12 a two-year period in the operation of a motor vehicle, which 13 are required to be reported to the department by section 14 321.491 or chapter 321C , except equipment violations, parking 15 violations as defined in section 321.210 , violations of 16 registration laws, violations of sections 321.445 and 321.446 , 17 violations of section 321.276 , operating a vehicle with an 18 expired license or permit, failure to appear, weights and 19 measures violations and speeding violations of less than 20 fifteen miles per hour over the legal speed limit. 21 Sec. 4. Section 805.8A, subsection 14, paragraph l, Code 22 2017, is amended to read as follows: 23 l. Text-messaging Use of electronic communication device 24 while driving violations. For violations under section 321.276 , 25 the scheduled fine is thirty dollars. 26 EXPLANATION 27 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 28 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 29 Under current law, Code section 321.276 prohibits the 30 use of hand-held electronic communication devices to write, 31 send, or read text messages while driving a motor vehicle. 32 This bill expands that provision to prohibit any use of an 33 electronic communication device while driving. An electronic 34 communication device is a device capable of being used to 35 -3- LSB 2062YC (1) 87 ns/nh 3/ 4
H.F. _____ compose, send, receive, or read an electronic message, and 1 includes telephones, personal digital assistants, and portable 2 or mobile computers. An electronic message is a self-contained 3 piece of digital communication, whether verbal or written, that 4 is designed or intended to be transmitted between electronic 5 communication devices, and includes telephone calls, video 6 calls, electronic mail, text messages, instant messages, and 7 commands or requests to access an internet site. 8 Generally, the bill does not alter the exceptions existing 9 under current law, and adds an exception for the use of an 10 electronic communication device in a hands-free mode. 11 The bill eliminates the provision prohibiting a peace 12 officer from stopping or detaining a person solely for a 13 suspected violation of Code section 321.276, and makes a 14 violation of Code section 321.276 a moving violation. Under 15 current law, a moving violation can be considered for purposes 16 of administrative suspension of a driver’s license or to 17 establish habitual offender status. 18 The bill rewords the applicable scheduled fine provision to 19 comply with the bill. The scheduled fine for a violation of 20 Code section 321.276 remains $30. Under Code section 321.482A, 21 if the violation causes a serious injury, a court could impose 22 an additional fine of $500 or suspend the person’s driver’s 23 license for not more than 90 days, or both. If the violation 24 causes a death, a court could impose an additional fine of 25 $1,000 or suspend the person’s driver’s license for not more 26 than 180 days, or both. 27 -4- LSB 2062YC (1) 87 ns/nh 4/ 4