Distracted Driving: a panel Discussion Table of Contents



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Distracted Driving: A Panel Discussion
Table of Contents

Federal Cell Phone Regulation

State Cell Phone Regulation

Transportation Code §545.424. Operation of Vehicle by Person Under 18 Years of Age

Transportation Code §545.425. Use of Wireless Communication Device; Offense

H.B. 242. Vetoed by the Governor.

Local Regulation

City of Arlington Ordinance

City of Austin Ordinance

City of El Paso Ordinance



Federal Regulation

Federal Employees

October 1, 2009: Executive Order 13513, “Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving” signed by President Obama

“Directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles; when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving; or while driving privately owned vehicles when they’re on official government business.  The order also encourages federal contractors and others doing business with the government to adopt and enforce their own policies banning texting while driving on the job” (Alair, 2009)



EXECUTIVE ORDER
FEDERAL LEADERSHIP ON REDUCING TEXT MESSAGING WHILE DRIVING


THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                                       

 October 1, 2009

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 7902(c) of title 5, United States Code, and the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 101 et seq., and in order to demonstrate Federal leadership in improving safety on our roads and highways and to enhance the efficiency of Federal contracting, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. With nearly 3 million civilian employees, the Federal Government can and should demonstrate leadership in reducing the dangers of text messaging while driving. Recent deadly crashes involving drivers distracted by text messaging while behind the wheel highlight a growing danger on our roads. Text messaging causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel, endangering both themselves and others. Every day, Federal employees drive Government-owned, Government-leased, or Government-rented vehicles (collectively, GOV) or privately-owned vehicles (POV) on official Government business, and some Federal employees use Government-supplied electronic devices to text or e-mail while driving. A Federal Government-wide prohibition on the use of text messaging while driving on official business or while using Government-supplied equipment will help save lives, reduce injuries, and set an example for State and local governments, private employers, and individual drivers. Extending this policy to cover Federal contractors is designed to promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement. Federal contractors and contractor employees who refrain from the unsafe practice of text messaging while driving in connection with Government business are less likely to experience disruptions to their operations that would adversely impact Federal procurement.

Sec. 2. Text Messaging While Driving by Federal Employees. Federal employees shall not engage in text messaging (a) when driving GOV, or when driving POV while on official Government business, or (b) when using electronic equipment supplied by the Government while driving.

Sec. 3. Scope of Order. (a) All agencies of the executive branch are directed to take appropriate action within the scope of their existing programs to further the policies of this order and to implement section 2 of this order. This includes, but is not limited to, considering new rules and programs, and reevaluating existing programs to prohibit text messaging while driving, and conducting education, awareness, and other outreach for Federal employees about the safety risks associated with texting while driving. These initiatives should encourage voluntary compliance with the agency's text messaging policy while off duty.

(b) Within 90 days of the date of this order, each agency is directed, consistent with all applicable laws and regulations: (i) to take appropriate measures to implement this order, (ii) to adopt measures to ensure compliance with section 2 of this order, including through appropriate disciplinary actions, and (iii) to notify the Secretary of Transportation of the measures it undertakes hereunder.

(c) Agency heads may exempt from the requirements of this order, in whole or in part, certain employees, devices, or vehicles in their respective agencies that are engaged in or used for protective, law enforcement, or national security responsibilities or on the basis of other emergency conditions.

Sec. 4. Text Messaging While Driving by Government Contractors, Subcontractors, and Recipients and Subrecipients. Each Federal agency, in procurement contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements, and other grants to the extent authorized by applicable statutory authority, entered into after the date of this order, shall encourage contractors, subcontractors, and recipients and subrecipients to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or GOV, or while driving POV when on official Government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the Government. Agencies should also encourage Federal contractors, subcontractors, and grant recipients and subrecipients as described in this section to conduct initiatives of the type described in section 3(a) of this order.

Sec. 5. Coordination. The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, shall provide leadership and guidance to the heads of executive branch agencies to assist them with any action pursuant to this order.

Sec. 6. Definitions.

(a) The term "agency" as used in this order means an executive agency, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105, except for the Government Accountability Office.


(b) "Texting" or "Text Messaging" means reading from or entering data into any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication.
(c) "Driving" means operating a motor vehicle on an active roadway with the motor running, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign, or otherwise. It does not include operating a motor vehicle with or without the motor running when one has pulled over to the side of, or off, an active roadway and has halted in a location where one can safely remain stationary.

Sec. 7. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect or alter:
(i) Authority granted by law or Executive Order to an agency, or the head thereof;
(ii) Powers and duties of the heads of the various departments and agencies pursuant to the Highway Safety Act of 1966, as amended, 23 U.S.C. 402 and 403, section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 668, sections 7901 and 7902 of title 5, United States Code, or the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 101 et seq.;
(iii) Rights, duties, or procedures under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151 et seq.; or
(iv) Functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Commercial Vehicles

“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) banned commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving in September 2010, and later banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers in November 2011”. (Distraction.gov)

Drivers of Hazardous Materials

“In February 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) banned texting on electronic devices by drivers operating a motor vehicle containing hazardous materials, in conjunction with the proposed FMCSA ban”. (Distraction.gov)

Rail Employees

“The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) banned rail employees from using cell phones or other electronic devices on the job following a September 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, California that killed 25 people”. (Distraction.gov)

Pilots


“After a Northwest flight crew distracted by a laptop overshot their destination by 150 miles, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised air carriers to create and enforce policies that limit distractions in the cockpit and keep pilots focused on transporting passengers safely”. (Distraction.gov)

State Regulation

Sec. 545.424.  OPERATION OF VEHICLE BY PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE.

(a)  A person under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device, except in case of emergency.

(a-1)  A person under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle during the 12-month period following issuance of an original Class A, B, or C driver's license to the person:

(1)  after midnight and before 5 a.m. unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the operator to attend or participate in employment or a school-related activity or because of a medical emergency; or

(2)  with more than one passenger in the vehicle under 21 years of age who is not a family member.

(b)  A person under 17 years of age who holds a restricted motorcycle license or moped license may not operate a motorcycle or moped while using a wireless communications device, except in case of emergency.

(b-1)  A person under 17 years of age who holds a restricted motorcycle license or moped license, during the 12-month period following the issuance of an original motorcycle license or moped license to the person, may not operate a motorcycle or moped  after midnight and before 5 a.m. unless:

(1)  the person is in sight of the person's parent or guardian; or

(2)  the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the operator to attend or participate in employment or a school-related activity or because of a medical emergency.

(c)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  the holder of a hardship license;

(2)  a person operating a motor vehicle while accompanied in the manner required by Section 521.222(d)(2) for the holder of an instruction permit; or

(3)  a person licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to operate a wireless communication device or a radio frequency device.

(d)  For the purposes of this section, employment includes work on a family farm by a member of the family that owns or operates the farm.

(e)  A peace officer may not stop a vehicle or detain the operator of a vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether the operator of the vehicle has violated this section.

(f)  In this section, "wireless communication device" means a handheld or hands-free device that uses commercial mobile service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 332.

Sec. 545.425.  USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE; OFFENSE.

(1)  "Hands-free device" means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator's hands.

(2)  "Wireless communication device" means a device that uses a commercial mobile service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 332.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), an operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within a school crossing zone, as defined by Section 541.302, Transportation Code, unless:

(1)  the vehicle is stopped; or

(2)  the wireless communication device is used with a hands-free device.

(b-1)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-2), a municipality, county, or other political subdivision that enforces this section shall post a sign that complies with the standards described by this subsection at the entrance to each school crossing zone in the municipality, county, or other political subdivision.  The department shall adopt standards that:

(1)  allow for a sign required to be posted under this subsection to be attached to an existing sign at a minimal cost; and

(2)  require that a sign required to be posted under this subsection inform an operator that:

(A)  the use of a wireless communication device is prohibited in the school crossing zone; and

(B)  the operator is subject to a fine if the operator uses a wireless communication device in the school crossing zone.

(b-2)  A municipality, county, or other political subdivision that by ordinance or rule prohibits the use of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle throughout the jurisdiction of the political subdivision is not required to post a sign as required by Subsection (b-1) if the political subdivision:

(1)  posts signs that are located at each point at which a state highway, U.S. highway, or interstate highway enters the political subdivision and that state:

(A)  that an operator is prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle in the political subdivision; and

(B)  that the operator is subject to a fine if the operator uses a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle in the political subdivision; and

(2)  subject to all applicable United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration rules, posts a message that complies with Subdivision (1) on any dynamic message sign operated by the political subdivision located on a state highway, U.S. highway, or interstate highway in the political subdivision.

(b-3)  A sign posted under Subsection (b-2)(1) must be readable to an operator traveling at the applicable speed limit.

(b-4)  The political subdivision shall pay the costs associated with the posting of signs under Subsection (b-2).

(c)  An operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a passenger bus with a minor passenger on the bus unless the passenger bus is stopped.

(d)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section that:

(1)  the wireless communication device was used to make an emergency call to:

(A)  an emergency response service, including a rescue, emergency medical, or hazardous material response service;

(B)  a hospital;

(C)  a fire department;

(D)  a health clinic;

(E)  a medical doctor's office;

(F)  an individual to administer first aid treatment; or

(G)  a police department; or

(2)  a sign required by Subsection (b-1) was not posted at the entrance to the school crossing zone at the time of an offense committed in the school crossing zone.

(d-1)  The affirmative defense available in Subsection (d)(2) is not available for an offense under Subsection (b) committed in a school crossing zone located in a municipality, county, or other political subdivision that is in compliance with Subsection (b-2).

(e)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle using a wireless communication device while acting in an official capacity; or

(2)  an operator who is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission while operating a radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device.

(f)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-2), this section preempts all local ordinances, rules, or regulations that are inconsistent with specific provisions of this section adopted by a political subdivision of this state relating to the use of a wireless communication device by the operator of a motor vehicle.

(Enacted by Acts 005, 79th Leg., Ch.357 (S.B.1257), § 5, effective September 1, 2005; am. Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1105 (H.B. 55) § 1, effective September 1, 2009; am. Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., ch.774 (H.B. 1899) § 1, effective September 1, 2011.



City of austin regulation

Austin City Code



§ 12-1-34  ELECTRONIC MESSAGING WHILE DRIVING.

(A) A driver of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device to view, send, or compose an electronic message or engage other application software while operating a motor vehicle.

(B) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section if a wireless communications device is used:

           (1) while the vehicle is stopped;

(2) strictly to engage in a telephone conversation, including dialing or deactivating the call;

(3) as a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the vehicle;

(4) for obtaining emergency assistance to report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious traffic hazard, or to prevent a crime about to be committed;

(5) in the reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger;

           (6) if the device is permanently installed inside the vehicle; or

           (7) solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode.

(C) This section does not apply to an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle using a wireless communication device while acting in an official capacity.

(D) To the extent that this section conflicts with the Texas Transportation Code Section 545.424, regarding the use of wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle by minors, or Texas Transportation Code Section 545.425, regarding the use of wireless communication devices in school crossing zones, this section does not apply.



Source:  Ord. 20091022-028; Ord. 20091217-090.

§ 12-1-2  COMPLIANCE REQUIRED.

(A) A person who performs an act prohibited by this title or fails to perform an act required by this title commits an offense.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this title, an offense under this title is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

Source:  1992 Code Section 16-1-2; Ord. 031204-13; Ord. 031211-11.

City of el paso regulation

§ 12.22.010 - Definitions - In this chapter:

A."Hands-free device" means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator's hands.

B."Stop" or "stopped" means to stand an occupied or unoccupied vehicle in a location other than in a lane of traffic on a roadway.

C."Wireless communication device" has the meaning assigned in Section 545.425 (Use of Wireless Communication Device; Offense) of the Texas Transportation Code.

(Ord. No. 17286, § 2, 3-9-2010, eff. 4-1-2010)

§ 12.22.020 - Use of wireless communications while driving.

A.An operator of a motor vehicle may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

B.This section does not apply to an operator of a motor vehicle using a wireless communications device:

1.While the vehicle is stopped; or

2.That is affixed to the vehicle and used as a global positioning or navigation system.

C.It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section if a wireless communications device is used:

1.For obtaining emergency assistance to report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious traffic hazard, or to prevent a crime about to be committed;

2.In the reasonable belief that a person's life or safety is in immediate danger; or

3.Solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode.

D.To the extent that this section conflicts with the Texas Transportation Code Section 545.424, regarding the use of wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle by minors, or Texas Transportation Code Section 545.425, regarding the use of wireless communication devices in school crossing zones, or by the operators of school busses, this section does not apply.

(Ord. No. 17286, § 3, 3-9-2010, eff. 4-1-2010)

Source: MUNICIPAL CODE, City of EL PASO, TEXAS. Codified through Ordinance No. 17711, approved September 27, 2011. (Supp. No. 81, Update 1)

city of arlington regulation

§ 2.15 - Use of Wireless Communication Devices While Driving

A. Definitions. For the purpose of this Section, the following words, terms, phrases and their derivations shall have the meanings as set out below:

"Hands-free device" means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator's hands.

"Text message" means a two-way communication (whether real-time or asynchronous) in which data (composed in whole or in part of text, numbers, images, or symbols) is sent, entered, or received by a method other than by voice and transmitted through either a short message service (SMS) or a computer network.

"Wireless Communication Device" has the meaning assigned in Section 545.425 (Use of Wireless Communication Device; Offense) of the Texas Transportation Code. Further, "Wireless Communication Device" means a text-messaging device or other electronic, two-way communication device that is designed to receive and transmit voice communication, text or pictorial communication, or both, whether by internet or other electronic means. The term includes a mobile telephone, and a personal digital assistant (PDA).

"Wireless Telephone Service" means two-way, real time voice telecommunications service that is interconnected to a public switched telephone network and is commonly referred to as cellular service or personal communication service.

B. A person commits an offense if the person uses a wireless communication device to send, read, or write a text message, view pictures or written text, whether transmitted by internet or other electronic means, engage in gaming or any other use of the device, besides dialing telephone numbers or talking to another person, while operating a moving motor vehicle. This ordinance shall not apply to public safety personnel in the normal course and scope of performing their duties.

C. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section if a wireless communication device is used:

1. while the vehicle is stopped, out of the moving lanes of the roadway;

2. strictly to engage in a telephone conversation, including dialing or deactivating the call;

3. as a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the vehicle;

4. to communicate with an emergency response operator, a fire department, a law enforcement agency, a hospital, a physician’s office, or a health clinic regarding a medical or other emergency situation to prevent injury to a person or property;

5. in the reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger; or

6. solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode.

D. No citations will be issued for the first 30 days following the effective date of this Ordinance so that an educational effort by the City may be conducted to inform the public about the importance and requirements of this new Ordinance. Thereafter, a person convicted of an offense under this section shall be punished by a fine of up to $200.

E. An offense under this section is not a moving violation and may not be made a part of a person’s driving record or insurance record.



ARTICLE II-11 (Amend Ord 11-054, 9/13/11)

Source: Ordinances Governing TRAFFIC AND MOTOR VEHICLES in the CITY OF ARLINGTON TEXAS Amended by Ordinance No. 11-054 (September 13, 2011) (Chapter Designator: TRAFFIC)

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