Bill Text: AZ SB1261 | 2018 | Fifty-third Legislature 2nd Regular | Introduced


Bill Title: Texting while driving; prohibition

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2018-02-06 - Senate TRANSIT Committee action: Do Pass, voting: (7-0-0-0) [SB1261 Detail]

Download: Arizona-2018-SB1261-Introduced.html

 

 

 

REFERENCE TITLE: texting while driving; prohibition

 

 

 

 

State of Arizona

Senate

Fifty-third Legislature

Second Regular Session

2018

 

 

SB 1261

 

Introduced by

Senators Farley: Fann

 

 

AN ACT

 

amending title 28, chapter 3, article 15, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 28‑913; amending sections 28‑3154, 28‑3164 and 28‑3174, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to use of wireless communication devices while driving.

 

 

(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)

 


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1.  Title 28, chapter 3, article 15, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 28-913, to read:

START_STATUTE28-913.  Use of portable wireless communication device while driving; prohibition; violation; classification; fines; definitions

A.  An operator may not use a portable wireless communication device to read, write or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.  To be prosecuted for a violation of this section, the behavior must be committed in the presence of or within the view of a peace officer or be established by other evidence.

B.  It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that the operator used a portable wireless communication device:

1.  In conjunction with a hands-free device.

2.  To navigate using a global positioning system or navigation system.

3.  To report illegal activity, summon emergency help or enter information into a software application that provides information relating to traffic and road conditions to users of the application.

4.  To read an electronic message that the person reasonably believes concerns an emergency.

5.  That was permanently or temporarily affixed to the vehicle to relay information in the course of the operator's occupational duties between the operator and either:

(a)  A dispatcher.

(b)  A digital network or software application service.

6.  To activate a function that plays music.

C.  This section does not apply to:

1.  An operator of an authorized emergency or law enforcement vehicle who uses a portable wireless communication device while acting in an official capacity.

2.  An operator who is licensed by the federal communications commission while operating a radio frequency device other than a portable wireless communication device.

D.  A person who violates this section is guilty of:

1.  A petty offense and is subject to a fine as follows:

(a)  At least twenty‑five dollars but not more than ninety‑nine dollars for a first offense.

(b)  At least one hundred dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for a second or subsequent offense.

2.  A class 2 misdemeanor if the violation caused the death of or serious bodily injury to another person and, notwithstanding section 13‑802, is subject to a fine of not more than four thousand dollars.

E.  If conduct constituting a violation under this section also violates another law, the person may be prosecuted under this section or the other law or both.

F.  The department shall post a sign at each point at which an interstate highway or United States highway enters into this state that informs an operator that both:

1.  The use of a portable wireless communication device for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle is prohibited in this state.

2.  The operator is subject to a fine if the operator uses a portable wireless communication device for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle in this state.

G.  A peace officer who stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of this section may not take possession of or otherwise inspect a portable wireless communication device in the possession of the operator unless otherwise authorized by law.

H.  A department or agency of this state may not consider a conviction for a violation of this section for the purpose of determining whether the person's driver license should be suspended or revoked.  A court may not transmit abstracts of records of violations of this section to the department.

I.  An insurer may not consider a violation of this section for the purposes of establishing rates for motor vehicle liability insurance or determining the insurability of the person.  An insurer may not cancel or refuse to renew a policy of insurance because of the violation.

J.  For the purposes of this section:

1.  "Electronic message" means data that is read from or entered into a wireless communication device for the purpose of communicating with another person.

2.  "Hands-free device":

(a)  Means speakerphone capability, a telephone attachment or another function or other piece of equipment regardless of whether permanently installed in or on a wireless communication device or in a motor vehicle that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator's hands except to activate or deactivate a function of the wireless communication device or hands-free device.

(b)  Includes voice‑operated technology and a push‑to‑talk function.  END_STATUTE

Sec. 2.  Section 28-3154, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE28-3154.  Instruction permit for a class D or G license

A.  A person who is at least fifteen years and six months of age may apply to the department for an instruction permit for a class D or G license.  The department may issue an instruction permit to the applicant after the applicant successfully passes all parts of the examination other than the driving test.

B.  The instruction permit entitles the permittee to drive a motor vehicle requiring a class D or G license on the public highways for twelve months when both of the following conditions are met:

1.  The permittee has the permit in the permittee's immediate possession.

2.  The permittee is accompanied by a person who has a class A, B, C or D license, who is at least twenty‑one years of age and who occupies a seat beside the permittee.

C.  A permittee may not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device for any reason except during an emergency in which stopping the motor vehicle is impossible or will create an additional emergency or safety hazard.  A peace officer may not stop or issue a citation to a person operating a motor vehicle on a highway in this state for a violation of this subsection unless the peace officer has reasonable cause to believe there is another alleged violation of a motor vehicle law of this state. END_STATUTE

Sec. 3.  Section 28-3164, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE28-3164.  Original applicants; examination

A.  The department may do any of the following:

1.  Examine an applicant for an original driver license.

2.  Accept the examination conducted by an authorized third party pursuant to chapter 13 of this title.  Beginning July 1, 2014, the third party must be authorized pursuant to section 28‑5101.01 or 28‑5101.03.

3.  Accept documentation of successful completion of a driver training course approved by the department.  Beginning July 1, 2014, for a class D or G license the documentation must be provided by a third party authorized pursuant to section 28‑5101.02.

4.  Accept documentation that the applicant has successfully completed education on special performance equipment and medically related driving circumstances.  Beginning July 1, 2014, the documentation must be provided by a third party authorized pursuant to section 28‑5101.02.

5.  Accept documentation that the applicant has successfully completed driver education lessons provided by an instructor who is certified by the superintendent of public instruction.

B.  The examination shall include all of the following:

1.  A test of the applicant's:

(a)  Eyesight.

(b)  Ability to read and understand official traffic control devices.

(c)  Knowledge of safe driving practices and the traffic laws of this state, including those practices and laws relating to bicycles.

(d)  Knowledge of the effect of using a portable wireless communication device or engaging in other actions that could distract a driver on the safe or effective operation of a motor vehicle.

2.  An actual demonstration of ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a vehicle or vehicle combination of the type covered by the license classification or endorsement for which the applicant applies.

3.  Other physical and mental examinations if the department finds them necessary to determine the applicant's fitness to safely operate a motor vehicle on the highways.

C.  The department may examine an original applicant for a class M license or a motorcycle endorsement or the department may accept the examination conducted by an authorized third party pursuant to chapter 13, article 1 of this title or documentation of successful completion of a motorcycle training program approved by the department.  Beginning July 1, 2014, the documentation of successful completion of a motorcycle training program must be provided by a third party motorcycle driver license training provider authorized pursuant to section 28‑5101.02 or a motorcycle training program approved by the department and provided in another state or by the United States military.  The department may examine an applicant who has a motorcycle license from another jurisdiction.  This examination shall be the same as for all applicants, except that the department may make modifications it finds necessary to determine the applicant's fitness to operate a motorcycle, motor driven cycle or moped on the highways.

D.  The department shall examine a person who holds a driver license issued by another country and who applies for an initial license in this state as an original applicant, except that the department may waive an actual demonstration of the ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motor vehicle if the person applies for a class D or G license and appears to meet the department's medical qualifications and if the out‑of‑state license is not revoked or is not expired for more than one year.

E.  The department may waive the driving examination for initial applicants for a class M license or a motorcycle endorsement if all of the following conditions exist:

1.  The applicant's current license indicates the applicant has been specifically licensed to operate a motorcycle.

2.  The applicant appears to meet the department's medical qualifications.

3.  The applicant's out‑of‑state license is not revoked or is not expired for more than one year. END_STATUTE

Sec. 4.  Section 28-3174, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE28-3174.  Class G driver licenses; restrictions; civil penalties; violation; classification; fines; motorcycles

A.  A person who is under eighteen years of age may apply to the department for a class G driver license if all of the following apply:

1.  The person is at least sixteen years of age.

2.  The person has a valid instruction permit issued pursuant to this article and the person has held the instruction permit for at least six months, except that this requirement does not apply to a person who has a currently valid driver license issued by another jurisdiction.

3.  Either:

(a)  The person has satisfactorily completed a driver education program that is approved by the department of transportation.  If the driver education program is offered by a public high school, the program shall be approved by the department of transportation in consultation with the department of education.

(b)  A custodial parent or guardian of the person certifies in writing to the department that the applicant has completed at least thirty hours of supervised driving practice and that at least ten of the required practice hours were at night.

B.  If the applicant successfully passes the examination prescribed in section 28‑3164 and satisfies the requirements prescribed in subsection A of this section, the department may issue a class G driver license to the applicant.

C.  Except as provided in subsection D of this section, a class G driver license entitles the licensee to drive a motor vehicle that requires a class G license on the public highways.

D.  Except as provided in subsection L of this section, for the first six months that a class G licensee holds the license, the licensee shall not drive a motor vehicle on a public highway from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless either:

1.  The licensee is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who has a class A, B, C or D license and who occupies a seat beside the class G licensee.

2.  The licensee is driving directly to or from a sanctioned school sponsored activity, the licensee's place of employment, a sanctioned religious activity or a family emergency.

E.  Except as provided in this subsection and subsection L of this section, for the first six months that a class G licensee holds the license, the licensee shall not drive a motor vehicle on a public highway at any time if the licensee is driving a motor vehicle containing more than one passenger under the age of eighteen.  This restriction does not:

1.  Prohibit the licensee from driving a motor vehicle containing passengers under the age of eighteen if the passengers are the licensee's siblings.

2.  Apply if the licensee is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who has a class A, B, C or D license and who occupies a seat beside the class G licensee.

F.  Except as provided in subsection K of this section, for the first six months that a class G licensee holds the license, The licensee may not drive a motor vehicle while using a portable wireless communication device for any reason except either:

1.  During an emergency in which stopping the motor vehicle is impossible or will create an additional emergency or safety hazard.

2.  When using an audible turn‑by‑turn navigation system if both of the following apply:

(a)  The destination is not manually entered into the wireless communication device while the licensee is driving the motor vehicle.

(b)  The licensee does not manually adjust the wireless communication device while driving the motor vehicle.

G.  The restrictions imposed pursuant to subsection F of this section do not apply to a person who is licensed by the federal communications commission while the person operates a radio frequency device other than a portable wireless communication device.

G.  H.  A peace officer shall not stop or issue a citation to a person operating a motor vehicle on a highway in this state for a violation of subsection D, E or F of this section unless the peace officer has reasonable cause to believe there is another alleged violation of a motor vehicle law of this state.

H.  I.  If a licensee is found responsible for violating subsection D or E or F of this section, the licensee:

1.  For a first violation, is subject to a maximum civil penalty of seventy-five dollars.  The department shall extend the restriction prescribed by subsection D or E or F of this section for thirty days, or if the restriction prescribed by subsection D or E or F of this section is complete, the thirty day restriction begins on the department's receipt of the report of the finding of responsibility.

2.  For a second violation, is subject to a maximum civil penalty of one hundred dollars.  The department shall extend the restriction prescribed by subsection D or E or F of this section for sixty days, or if the restriction prescribed by subsection D or E or F of this section is complete, the sixty day restriction begins on the department's receipt of the report of the finding of responsibility.  If at the time of the second violation the licensee is subject to an extension of the six month period pursuant to paragraph 1 of this subsection, the extensions run consecutively.

3.  For a third or subsequent violation, is subject to a maximum civil penalty of one hundred dollars.  On the department's receipt of the report of the finding of responsibility, the department shall suspend the licensee's driving privilege for thirty days.  If the licensee also has a suspension resulting from a moving civil traffic violation or a moving criminal traffic offense as prescribed by section 28‑3321, the suspensions run consecutively.

I.  J.  A citation issued for violating subsection D of this section shall be dismissed if the licensee to whom the citation was issued produces any of the following evidence to the appropriate court officer on or before the date and time specified on the citation for court appearance and in a manner specified by the court:

1.  A written, notarized letter from the parent or legal guardian of the licensee that the licensee was going to or returning from a sanctioned school sponsored activity, the licensee's place of employment, a sanctioned religious activity or a family emergency.

2.  A written, notarized letter from a representative of the sanctioned school sponsored activity certifying that the licensee was returning from the school activity.

3.  A written, notarized letter from the licensee's employer certifying that the licensee was returning from the licensee's place of employment.

4.  A written, notarized letter from a representative of the sanctioned religious activity certifying that the licensee was returning from the religious activity.

J.  K.  A citation issued for violating subsection E of this section shall be dismissed if the licensee to whom the citation was issued produces a written, notarized letter from the parent or legal guardian of the licensee to the appropriate court officer on or before the date and time specified on the citation for court appearance and in a manner specified by the court that states the passengers in the vehicle with the licensee at the time of the violation were the siblings of the licensee.

K.  L.  The restrictions imposed by subsection D or E or F of this section do not apply beginning on the licensee's eighteenth birthday.  Any penalties or restrictions imposed pursuant to subsection I of this section shall be fully satisfied even if the licensee is eighteen years of age or older.

L.  M.  A person who holds a class G driver license may apply for a class D license on or after the person's eighteenth birthday, except that a person whose class G driver license is suspended pursuant to section 28‑3321 is not entitled to receive a class D driver license until after the suspension period expires.

M.  N.  If a person who is under eighteen years of age and at least sixteen years of age applies for a class M license or a motorcycle endorsement, the department shall not issue the class M license or motorcycle endorsement to the person unless both of the following apply:

1.  The applicant has held an instruction permit issued pursuant to section 28‑3156 for at least six months, except that this requirement does not apply to a person who has a currently valid motorcycle driver license or endorsement issued by another jurisdiction.

2.  Either:

(a)  The person has satisfactorily completed a motorcycle driver education program that is approved by the department.  If the driver education program is offered by a public high school, the program shall be approved by the department of transportation in consultation with the department of education.

(b)  A custodial parent or guardian of the person certifies in writing to the department that the applicant has completed at least thirty hours of motorcycle driving practice.

O.  A person who is under seventeen years of age and who has a class M license or a motorcycle endorsement may not drive a motorcycle while using a portable wireless communication device for any reason except during an emergency.  The restrictions imposed pursuant to this subsection do not apply to a person who is licensed by the federal communications commission while the person operates a radio frequency device other than a portable wireless communication device.

P.  A person who violates subsection F or O of this section is guilty of a petty offense and is subject to a fine as follows:

1.  At least twenty‑five dollars but not more than ninety‑nine dollars for a first offense.

2.  At least one hundred dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for a second or subsequent offense. END_STATUTE

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