130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 637  As Reported by the House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee
As Reported by the House Transportation, Public Safety, and Homeland Security Committee

130th General Assembly
Regular Session
2013-2014
H. B. No. 637


Representative Damschroder 

Cosponsors: Representatives Bishoff, Barborak, Perales, Lundy, Derickson, Sheehy, Ruhl, Mallory 



A BILL
To amend sections 4511.093, 4511.204, and 4511.205 of the Revised Code to prohibit the use of an electronic wireless communications device in a school zone during hours when children are present outside or in a construction zone during hours of actual work and to make driving a vehicle while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication a primary rather than secondary traffic offense.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 4511.093, 4511.204, and 4511.205 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 4511.093. (A)(1) No law enforcement officer who stops the operator of a motor vehicle in the course of an authorized sobriety or other motor vehicle checkpoint operation or a motor vehicle safety inspection shall issue a ticket, citation, or summons for a secondary traffic offense unless in the course of the checkpoint operation or safety inspection the officer first determines that an offense other than a secondary traffic offense has occurred and either places the operator or a vehicle occupant under arrest or issues a ticket, citation, or summons to the operator or a vehicle occupant for an offense other than a secondary offense.
(2) A law enforcement agency that operates a motor vehicle checkpoint for an express purpose related to a secondary traffic offense shall not issue a ticket, citation, or summons for any secondary traffic offense at such a checkpoint, but may use such a checkpoint operation to conduct a public awareness campaign and distribute information.
(B) As used in this section, "secondary traffic offense" means a violation of division (A) or (F)(2) of section 4507.05, division (B)(1)(a) or (b) or (E) of section 4507.071, division (A) of section 4511.204, division (C) or (D) of section 4511.81, division (A)(3) of section 4513.03, or division (B) of section 4513.263 of the Revised Code.
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 a handheld 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 a handheld 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 a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner in the course of the person's duties;
(3) A person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner whose motor vehicle is in a stationary position and who is outside a lane of travel;
(4) A person reading, selecting, or entering a name or telephone number in a handheld 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;
(10) A person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in conjunction with a voice-operated or hands-free device feature or function of the vehicle.
(C) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no law enforcement officer shall cause an operator of an automobile being operated on any street or highway to stop the automobile for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of division (A) of this section has been or is being committed or for the sole purpose of issuing a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of that nature or causing the arrest of or commencing a prosecution of a person for a violation of that nature, and no law enforcement officer shall view the interior or visually inspect any automobile being operated on any street or highway for the sole purpose of determining whether a violation of that nature has been or is being committed.
(D)(C) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
(E)(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.
(F)(E) A prosecution for a violation of this section does not preclude a prosecution for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance based on the same conduct. However, if an offender is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of this section and is also convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance based on the same conduct, the two offenses are allied offenses of similar import under section 2941.25 of the Revised Code.
(G)(F) 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, including a laptop computer and a computer tablet;
(e) Any other substantially similar wireless device that is designed or used to communicate text.
(2) "Voice-operated or hands-free device" means a device that allows the user to vocally compose or send, or to listen to a text-based communication without the use of either hand except to activate or deactivate a feature or function.
(3) "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.
Sec. 4511.205.  (A) No holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not attained the age of eighteen years and no holder of a probationary driver's license shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property used by the public for purposes of vehicular traffic or parking while using in any manner an electronic wireless communications device.
(B) Division No person shall use an electronic wireless communications device in any manner while operating a motor vehicle in either of the following circumstances:
(1) On any street or highway in a school zone as defined in division (B)(1)(c) of section 4511.21 of the Revised Code during school recess and while children are going to or leaving school during the opening or closing hours; or
(2) In a construction zone as defined in division (C) of section 5501.27 of the Revised Code during hours of actual work within the construction zone.
Division (B) of this section does not apply to the holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not yet attained the age of eighteen years or the holder of a probationary driver's license; such persons are subject to division (A) of this section.
(C) Divisions (A) and (B) of this section does do not apply to either any of the following:
(1) A person using an electronic wireless communications device 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 using an electronic wireless communications device whose motor vehicle is in a stationary position and the motor vehicle is outside a lane of travel;
(3) A person using a navigation device in a voice-operated or hands-free manner who does not manipulate the device while driving.
(C)(1) Except as provided in division (C)(2) of this section, whoever violates division (A) of this section shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars. In addition, the court shall impose a class seven suspension of the offender's driver's license or permit for a definite period of sixty days.
(2) If the person previously has been adjudicated a delinquent child or a juvenile traffic offender for a violation of division (A) of this section, whoever violates division (A) of this section shall be fined three hundred dollars. In addition, the court shall impose a class seven suspension of the person's driver's license or permit for a definite period of one year.
(3) Whoever violates division (B) of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
(D)(1) The filing of a sworn complaint against a person for a violation of division (A) of this section does not preclude the filing of a sworn complaint for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance for the same conduct. However, if a person is adjudicated a delinquent child or a juvenile traffic offender for a violation of division (A) of this section and is also adjudicated a delinquent child or a juvenile traffic offender for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance for the same conduct, the two offenses are allied offenses of similar import under section 2941.25 of the Revised Code.
(2) A prosecution for a violation of division (B) of this section does not preclude a prosecution for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance based on the same conduct. However, if an offender is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of division (B) of this section and is also convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance based on the same conduct, the two offenses are allied offenses of similar import under section 2941.25 of the Revised Code.
(E) As used in this section, "electronic wireless communications device" includes any of the following:
(1) A wireless telephone;
(2) A personal digital assistant;
(3) A computer, including a laptop computer and a computer tablet;
(4) A text-messaging device;
(5) Any other substantially similar electronic wireless device that is designed or used to communicate via voice, image, or written word.
Section 2. That existing sections 4511.093, 4511.204, and 4511.205 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.
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