SB 972
Modifies provisions relating to the operation of motor vehicles while using electronic devices
Sponsor:
LR Number:
3514S.01I
Last Action:
2/24/2022 - Second Read and Referred S Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee
Journal Page:
Title:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2022

Current Bill Summary

SB 972 - This act replaces the current prohibitions against the operation of motor vehicles while using electronic wireless communication devices with a prohibition against operating motor vehicles while using "driver-restricted devices", as defined in the act.

The act adds the use of driver-restricted devices while operating a motor vehicle to the list of offenses for which a person under the age of 21 shall have their driver's license suspended, (Section 302.400) and adds the offense to the statute laying out point assessment for purposes of license suspension. (Section 302.302).

Under the act, no person under the age of 21 shall operate a motor vehicle while using a driver-restricted device, except to access applications or software for purposes of navigating the motor vehicle, or in hands-free mode, as defined in the act. (Section 304.822.2)

No person shall operate a noncommercial motor vehicle while using a driver-restricted device, except that the driver may make or take part in a phone call, utilize applications or software for purposes of navigating the vehicle, or send, read, view, or write an electronic message provided the message is accomplished by touching a single button and the driver remains seated and restrained by a seat belt. (Section 304.822.3)

No person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone, while using a driver-restricted device to send, read, view, or write an electronic message unless the message is accomplished by touching a single button and the driver remains seated and restrained by a seat belt, or while using a driver-restricted device for any other purpose. (Section 304.822.4)

No person shall operate a school bus while using a driver-restricted device, except that the operator may use the device in a manner similar to a two-way radio to allow communication between the driver and school officials or public safety officials. (Section 304.822.5)

The act specifies additional exceptions for emergency vehicles, law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties, use of the devices when the vehicle is stopped and in neutral or park, motor vehicles responding to requests for roadside assistance when the response is conducted in the course and scope of commercial activity, use of the devices to contact emergency services, and use of the devices to relay information between for-hire drivers and their dispatchers when the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle. (Section 304.822.6)

A law enforcement officer who stops a motor vehicle for a violation of this act shall inform the operator of his or her right to decline a search of the driver-restricted device, and shall not access the device without a warrant or confiscate the device while awaiting issuance of a warrant. (Section 304.822.7)

The act preempts the field of regulating the use of driver-restricted devices by the operators of motor vehicles, and the provisions of the act shall supercede local laws. (Section 304.822.8)

A violation of the act shall be an infraction, except that it shall be a class C misdemeanor if the violation causes over $5,000 in property damage, a class A misdemeanor if the violation causes serious physical injury to another person, or a class D felony if the violation causes the death of another person. (Section 304.822.9)

The act specifies penalties for violations, including fines (Section 304.822.10) and license points (Sections 302.302.1(19) and 304.822.10), including enhanced penalties for repeat offenders, convictions in work or school zones, and convictions where the driver was also speeding by 10 or more miles per hour. (Section 304.822.10)

The provisions of the act shall be subject to racial bias reporting as required by law. (Section 304.822.11). Prior to January 1, 2024, law enforcement officers shall issue only warnings to the operators of noncommercial vehicles in violation of the act. (Section 304.822.12)

This act is similar to HB 853 (2021), HB 1076 (2021), HB 110 (2021), HB 241 (2021), HB 258 (2021), HB 798 (2021), contains provisions similar to HB 73 (2021) and HB 103 (2021), and is similar to SB 532 (2020), HB 1474 (2020), HB 1531 (2020), HB 1879 (2020), HB 1265 (2020), HB 1290 (2020), HB 1633 (2020), HB 1674 (2020), SB 15 (2019), SB 749 (2018), SB 165 (2017), SB 253 (2017), HB 284 (2017), HB 312 (2017), HB 378 (2017), SB 510 (2017), and HB 546 (2017).

ERIC VANDER WEERD

Amendments

No Amendments Found.