130th Ohio General Assembly
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Am. H. B. No. 99  As Passed by the House
As Passed by the House

129th General Assembly
Regular Session
2011-2012
Am. H. B. No. 99


Representatives Damschroder, Garland 

Cosponsors: Representatives Antonio, Boyd, Celeste, Clyde, DeGeeter, Derickson, Dovilla, Fende, Goyal, Grossman, Hackett, Heard, Hottinger, Mallory, Murray, Okey, Pillich, Ruhl, Stebelton, Stinziano, Szollosi, Winburn, Yuko, Anielski, Barnes, Boose, Bubp, Budish, Fedor, Gerberry, Hagan, C., Hagan, R., Hayes, Johnson, Letson, Luckie, Lundy, McClain, McGregor, Newbold, O'Brien, Slaby, Weddington Speaker Batchelder 



A BILL
To amend section 4508.02 and to enact section 4511.204 of the Revised Code to prohibit driving a vehicle while writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device and to require driver education courses to include instruction in the dangers of texting while driving.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That section 4508.02 be amended and section 4511.204 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 4508.02.  (A) The director of public safety, subject to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall adopt and prescribe such rules concerning the administration and enforcement of this chapter as are necessary to protect the public. The director shall inspect the school facilities and equipment of applicants and licensees and examine applicants for instructor's licenses.
(B) The director shall administer and enforce this chapter.
(C) The rules shall require twenty-four hours of classroom instruction, and eight hours of actual behind-the-wheel instruction conducted on public streets and highways of this state for all beginning drivers of noncommercial motor vehicles who are under age eighteen. The rules also shall require the classroom instruction for such drivers to include instruction in the dangers of driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.
(D) The rules shall state the minimum hours for classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction required for beginning drivers of commercial trucks, commercial cars, buses, and commercial tractors, trailers, and semi-trailers semitrailers.
Sec. 4511.204.  (A) No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.
(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) A person using an electronic wireless communications device in that manner for emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity;
(2) A person driving a public safety vehicle who uses an electronic wireless communications device in that manner in the course of the person's duties;
(3) A person using an electronic wireless communications device in that manner whose motor vehicle is in a stationary position, with the transmission in the park or neutral setting or with the engine or power to the motor off, and who is outside a lane of travel;
(4) A person reading, selecting, or entering a name or telephone number in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call;
(5) A person receiving wireless messages on a device regarding the operation or navigation of a motor vehicle; safety-related information, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; or data used primarily by the motor vehicle;
(6) A person receiving wireless messages via radio waves;
(7) A person using a device for navigation purposes;
(8) A person conducting wireless interpersonal communication with a device that does not require manually entering letters, numbers, or symbols or reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate the device or a feature or function of the device;
(9) A person operating a commercial truck while using a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data.
(C) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
(D) This section shall not be construed as invalidating, preempting, or superseding a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance that prescribes penalties for violations of that ordinance that are greater than the penalties prescribed in this section for violations of this section.
(E) As used in this section:
(1) "Electronic wireless communications device" includes any of the following:
(a) A wireless telephone;
(b) A text-messaging device;
(c) A personal digital assistant;
(d) A computer;
(e) Any other substantially similar wireless device that is designed or used to communicate text.
(2) "Write, send, or read a text-based communication" means to manually write or send, or read a text-based communication using an electronic wireless communications device, including manually writing or sending, or reading communications referred to as text messages, instant messages, or electronic mail.
Section 2.  That existing section 4508.02 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed.
Section 3. 
For the six-month period commencing on the effective date of this act, no law enforcement officer shall issue to the operator of any motor vehicle being operated upon a street or highway within this state a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of division (A) of section 4511.204 of the Revised Code, or cause the arrest of or commence a prosecution of a person for a violation of that division. Instead, during that period of time the law enforcement officer shall issue to such an operator a written warning, informing the operator of the existence of division (A) of section 4511.204 of the Revised Code and that after the date that is six months after the effective date of this act, a law enforcement officer who observes that the operator of a motor vehicle has committed or is committing a violation of division (A) of section 4511.204 of the Revised Code will be authorized to issue a ticket, citation, or summons to that operator for that violation or to cause the arrest of or commence a prosecution of such an operator for a violation of that division.
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