senate Bill S536A

Prohibits the writing, sending or reading of text-based communications on a mobile telephone with at least one hand while driving

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 07 / Jan / 2009
    • REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION
  • 06 / Jan / 2010
    • REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION
  • 31 / Mar / 2010
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO TRANSPORTATION
  • 31 / Mar / 2010
    • PRINT NUMBER 536A

Summary

Prohibits the writing, sending or reading of text-based communication on a mobile telephone while driving; creates a "cell phone safety" component in pre-licensing courses.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6074A
Versions:
S536
S536A
Legislative Cycle:
2009-2010
Current Committee:
Senate Transportation
Law Section:
Vehicle and Traffic Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§1225-c, 502 & 1225-d, V & T L; amd §2336, Ins L
Versions Introduced in 2007-2008 Legislative Cycle:
S6443A, A9520A

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER: S536A

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the insurance law, in
relation to prohibiting the writing, sending or reading of text
messages on a mobile telephone while driving

PURPOSE :
The bill amends the current prohibition on using a hand held cell
phone while driving.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 1. Prohibits writing, sending or reading text messages. (h)
defines above. Section 2. Except as otherwise provided, prohibits
writing, sending or reading text messages. Section 3 (c-3 _ Cell phone
safety component. Section 4. Adds cell phone safety component.
Section 6, adds cell phone safety component. Section 7, subsection
6.amends subdivision 6 of section 1225(d) of the vehicle and traffic
law, as added by chapter 403 of the laws of2009 to read as follows:
6. A violation of this section shall be a traffic infraction and shall
be punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred fifty dollars.

EXISTING LAW :
Chapter 403 of the laws of 2009.

JUSTIFICATION :
In response to the growing number of traffic accidents where the use
of a cell phone was a factor, the state legislature passed a law
prohibiting the use of hand held cell phones while driving.

The newest trend in communications among our youngest drivers is text
messaging. In fact a recent study by Nationwide Mutual Insurance
showed that 19% of all drivers and 37% of drivers between the ages of
18-27 text message while behind the wheel. As a result, several fatal
traffic accidents have been attributed to text messaging while
driving. Most notably, in my district, five recent high school
graduates were killed when their vehicle veered across the double
yellow line into on-coming traffic and was struck by a tractor
trailer. Further investigation discovered that the driver was
receiving and sending text messages in the seconds before the
accident.

According to studies done by AAA, any activity that takes a driver's
attention off the road for more than two seconds can double a driver's
risk of a crash. Therefore, this legislation not only prohibits text
messaging while driving, but also requires an educational component to
increase awareness of the hazards of distracted driving. The bill
directs the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to
include a component on cell phone safety in the pre-licensing course
and a question on this issue in the written licensing exam. By
educating our young drivers on the possible fatal consequences of
distracted driving, this legislation may in fact save lives. Also
makes texting while driving a primary offense.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
Chapter 403 of 2009

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
Not yet determined.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect 180 days after it shall become law.
view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 536--A

                       2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 7, 2009
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. ALESI, LARKIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and
  when  printed  to  be  committed to the Committee on Transportation --
  recommitted to the Committee  on  Transportation  in  accordance  with
  Senate  Rule  6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
  reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the  insurance  law,  in
  relation  to  prohibiting  the  writing,  sending  or  reading of text
  messages on a mobile telephone while driving

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Paragraph  (d)  of subdivision 1 of section 1225-c of the
vehicle and traffic law, as added by chapter 69 of the laws of 2001,  is
amended and a new paragraph (h) is added to read as follows:
  (d)  "Hand-held  mobile  telephone" shall mean a mobile telephone with
which a user engages in a call OR WRITES, SENDS OR  READS  A  TEXT-BASED
COMMUNICATION using at least one hand.
  (H)  "WRITE, SEND OR READ A TEXT-BASED COMMUNICATION" SHALL MEAN USING
A HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ANY PERSON OR DEVICE BY
USING A TEXT-BASED COMMUNICATION COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS A TEXT MESSAGE,
INSTANT MESSAGE, ELECTRONIC MAIL OR EMAIL.
  S 2. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 1225-c of  the  vehicle
and  traffic law, as added by chapter 69 of the laws of 2001, is amended
to read as follows:
  (a) Except as otherwise provided in  this  section,  no  person  shall
operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile tele-
phone  to  engage in a call OR WRITE, SEND OR READ A TEXT-BASED COMMUNI-
CATION while such vehicle is in motion.
  S 3. Subdivision 4 of section 502 of the vehicle and  traffic  law  is
amended by adding a new paragraph (c-3) to read as follows:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03774-02-0

S. 536--A                           2

  (C-3)  CELL  PHONE SAFETY COMPONENT. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROVIDE IN
THE PRE-LICENSING COURSE, SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION
A MANDATORY COMPONENT IN THE "CELL PHONE SAFETY COMPONENT" AS A  PREREQ-
UISITE  FOR  OBTAINING A LICENSE TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE. THE PURPOSE
OF  THE  COMPONENT  IS TO EDUCATE PROSPECTIVE LICENSEES OF THE POTENTIAL
DANGERS OF DRIVING WHILE USING A CELL PHONE. FOR THE  PURPOSES  OF  THIS
PARAGRAPH, "CELL PHONE" SHALL BE DEFINED AS A HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONE
WITH  WHICH A USER ENGAGES A CALL OR WRITES, SENDS OR READS A TEXT-BASED
COMMUNICATION USING AT LEAST ONE HAND AS DEFINED  IN  PARAGRAPH  (H)  OF
SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWELVE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE-C OF THIS CHAPTER.
THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH A CURRICULUM FOR SUCH "CELL PHONE SAFE-
TY" COMPONENT WHICH SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, INFORMATION ON
THE  LAW  RELATED TO DRIVING WHILE USING A CELL PHONE, THE PENALTIES FOR
USING A CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING AND THE POTENTIAL DANGERS OF DISTRACTED
DRIVERS. IN DEVELOPING SUCH CURRICULUM, THE COMMISSIONER  SHALL  CONSULT
WITH  LAW  ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, HIGHWAY SAFETY OFFICIALS AND ANY OTHER
GROUP THE COMMISSIONER BELIEVES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO A COMPREHENSIVE STATE-
MENT OF THE ISSUE.
  S 4. Paragraphs (a), (b) and (d) of subdivision 4 of  section  502  of
the  vehicle  and  traffic law, as amended by chapter 585 of the laws of
2002, are amended to read as follows:
  (a) (i) Upon submission of an application for a driver's license,  the
applicant  shall be required to take and pass a test, or submit evidence
of passage of a test, with respect to the laws relating to traffic,  the
laws  relating to driving while ability is impaired and while intoxicat-
ed, under the overpowering influence of "Road  Rage",  [or]  "Work  Zone
Safety" awareness as defined by the commissioner OR CELL PHONE SAFETY AS
DEFINED  BY THE COMMISSIONER, the ability to read and comprehend traffic
signs and symbols  and  such  other  matters  as  the  commissioner  may
prescribe,  and  to  satisfactorily  complete a course prescribed by the
commissioner of not less than four hours and not more than  five  hours,
consisting  of  classroom driver training and highway safety instruction
or the equivalent thereof. Such test shall include at least seven  writ-
ten  questions concerning the effects of consumption of alcohol or drugs
on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and the legal  and
financial  consequences  resulting  from  violations  of  section eleven
hundred ninety-two of this chapter, prohibiting the operation of a motor
vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Such  test  shall
include one or more written questions concerning the devastating effects
of "Road Rage" on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and
the  legal and financial consequences resulting from assaulting, threat-
ening or interfering with the lawful conduct of another  person  legally
using  the  roadway.  Such  test  shall  include  one  or more questions
concerning the potential dangers to persons and equipment resulting from
the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle in a work zone. SUCH TEST  SHALL
INCLUDE  ONE OR MORE WRITTEN QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE HAZARDS AND LEGAL
CONSEQUENCES OF DRIVING WHILE USING A CELL PHONE.  Such  test  shall  be
administered  by  the  commissioner.  The  commissioner  shall cause the
applicant to take a vision test and a test  for  color  blindness.  Upon
passage  of  the  vision  test,  the application may be accepted and the
application fee shall be payable.
  (ii) The commissioner shall promulgate rules  and  regulations  estab-
lishing  eligibility  standards  for the taking and passing of knowledge
tests in other than written form.
  (b) Upon successful completion of the requirements set forth in  para-
graph  (a)  of  this subdivision which shall include an alcohol and drug

S. 536--A                           3

education component as described in paragraph (c) of this subdivision, a
"Road Rage" awareness component as described in paragraph (c-1) of  this
subdivision and a "Work Zone Safety" awareness component as described in
paragraph  (c-2) of this subdivision AND A "CELL PHONE SAFETY" COMPONENT
AS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (C-3) OF THIS  SUBDIVISION,  the  commissioner
shall  cause the applicant to take a road test in a representative vehi-
cle of a type prescribed by the commissioner which shall be  appropriate
to  the  type  of license for which application is made, except that the
commissioner may waive the road test requirements for certain classes of
applicants. The commissioner shall have the power to establish a program
to allow persons other than employees of the department to conduct  road
tests in representative vehicles when such tests are required for appli-
cants to obtain a class A, B or C license.  If she chooses to do so, she
shall  set  forth her reasons in writing and conduct a public hearing on
the matter. She shall only establish such a program  after  holding  the
public hearing.
  (d) The commissioner shall make available for distribution upon regis-
tration  at  each location where the pre-licensing course will be given,
instructional handbooks outlining the content of the  entire  curriculum
of  the  pre-licensing  course  including the information required to be
included in the course pursuant to paragraphs (c),  (c-1)  [and],  (c-2)
AND  (C-3)  of this subdivision. The commissioner shall also provide for
the additional training of the instructors necessary for  the  competent
instruction  of the alcohol and drug education and "Road Rage" awareness
[and], "Work Zone Safety"  awareness,  AND  CELL  PHONE  SAFETY  subject
matters of the pre-licensing course.
  S  5.  Subsection (a) of section 2336 of the insurance law, as amended
by chapter 751 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows:
  (a) Any schedule of rates or rating plan for motor  vehicle  liability
and  collision  insurance  submitted to the superintendent shall provide
for an appropriate reduction in premium charges for any  insured  for  a
three year period after successfully completing a motor vehicle accident
prevention  course,  known  as  the  national safety council's defensive
driving course, or any driver improvement course approved by the depart-
ment of motor vehicles as being equivalent to the national safety  coun-
cil's  defensive  driving  course,  provided that, except as provided in
article twelve-C of the vehicle and  traffic  law,  there  shall  be  no
reduction in premiums for a self instruction defensive driving course or
a  course  which does not provide for actual classroom instruction for a
minimum number of hours as determined by the department of  motor  vehi-
cles.  Such  reduction in premium charges shall be subsequently modified
to the extent  appropriate,  based  upon  analysis  of  loss  experience
statistics  and  other  relevant  factors.  All such accident prevention
courses shall be monitored by the department of motor vehicles and shall
include components of instruction in "Road  Rage"  awareness  [and],  in
"Work  Zone  Safety"  awareness  AND CELL PHONE SAFETY as defined by the
commissioner of motor vehicles. The provisions of this section shall not
apply to attendance at a program pursuant to article twenty-one  of  the
vehicle and traffic law as a result of any traffic infraction.
  S  6.  Subsection (a) of section 2336 of the insurance law, as amended
by chapter 585 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows:
  (a) Any schedule of rates or rating plan for motor  vehicle  liability
and  collision  insurance  submitted to the superintendent shall provide
for an appropriate reduction in premium charges for any  insured  for  a
three year period after successfully completing a motor vehicle accident
prevention  course,  known  as  the  national safety council's defensive

S. 536--A                           4

driving course, or any driver improvement course approved by the depart-
ment of motor vehicles as being equivalent to the national safety  coun-
cil's  defensive  driving  course,  provided  that in either event there
shall be no reduction in premiums for a self instruction defensive driv-
ing  course  or  a  course  which  does not provide for actual classroom
instruction for a minimum number of hours as determined by  the  depart-
ment  of  motor  vehicles.  Such  reduction  in premium charges shall be
subsequently modified to the extent appropriate, based upon analysis  of
loss experience statistics and other relevant factors. All such accident
prevention  courses  shall be monitored by the department of motor vehi-
cles and shall include components of instruction in "Road  Rage"  aware-
ness  [and],  in  "Work  Zone Safety" awareness AND CELL PHONE SAFETY as
defined by the commissioner of motor vehicles. The  provisions  of  this
section  shall  not apply to attendance at a program pursuant to article
twenty-one of the vehicle and traffic law as a  result  of  any  traffic
infraction.
  S  7.  Subdivision 6 of section 1225-d of the vehicle and traffic law,
as added by chapter 403 of the laws of  2009,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  6. A violation of this section shall be a traffic infraction and shall
be  punishable  by  a  fine  of not more than one hundred fifty dollars.
[Provided, however, that a summons for  operating  a  motor  vehicle  in
violation  of this section shall only be issued when there is reasonable
cause to believe that  the  person  operating  such  motor  vehicle  has
committed  a  violation of the laws of this state other than a violation
of this section.]
  S 8. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
it shall have become a law, provided that the amendments  to  subsection
(a)  of  section  2336 of the insurance law made by section five of this
act shall be subject to the expiration and reversion of such  subsection
as provided in section 5 of chapter 751 of the laws of 2005, as amended,
when upon such date section six of this act shall take effect.

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