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Alaska: Explicit ban on texting and driving takes effect today

Associated Press Published: May 11th, 2012 05:31 AM Last
Modified: May 11th, 2012 05:31 AM...


27th Legislature(2011-2012) 

Bill Text 27th Legislature

00 Enrolled HB 255                                                                                                         
01 Relating to screen devices in motor vehicles; prohibiting the driver of a motor vehicle from                            
02 reading or typing a text message or other nonvoice message or communication on a cellular                               
03 telephone, computer, or personal data assistant while driving a motor vehicle; and providing                            
04 for an effective date.                                                                                                  
05                           _______________                                                                               
06    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
07 to read:                                                                                                                
08       STATEMENT OF PURPOSE. The purpose of this Act is to conform and clarify that                                      
09 the use of a cellular telephone, computer, personal data assistant, or any other similar means                          
10 for texting or communicating in a manner prohibited by AS 28.35.161 has been illegal since                              
11 AS 28.35.161 was enacted and that the December 1, 2011, magistrate's decision in State v.                               
12 Adams, 3KN-11-719 CR, is legally incorrect.                                                                             
13    * Sec. 2. AS 28.35.161(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
14            (a)  A person commits the crime of driving while texting, while                                          
01       communicating on a computer, or while [WITH] a screen device is operating if [(1)]                        
02       the person is driving a motor vehicle, and                                                                    
03                 (1)  [; (2)] the vehicle has a television, video monitor, portable                                  
04       computer, or any other similar means capable of providing a visual display that is in                             
05       full view of a driver in a normal driving position while the vehicle is in motion, and [;                     
06       AND (3)] the monitor or visual display is operating while the person is driving; or                           
07                 (2)  the person is reading or typing a text message or other                                        
08       nonvoice message or communication on a cellular telephone, personal data                                      
09       assistant, computer, or any other similar means capable of providing a visual                                 
10       display that is in the view of the driver in a normal driving position while the                              
11       vehicle is in motion and while the person is driving.                                                         
12    * Sec. 3. AS 28.35.161(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
13            (b)  A person may not install or alter equipment described in (a) [(a)(2)] of this                       
14       section that allows the images to be viewed by the driver in a normal driving position                            
15       while the vehicle is in motion.                                                                                   
16    * Sec. 4. AS 28.35.161(c) is amended to read:                                                                      
17            (c)  Subsections (a) and (b) of this section do not apply to                                                 
18                 (1)  portable cellular telephones or personal data assistants being used                                
19       for voice [VERBAL] communication or displaying caller identification information;                             
20                 (2)  equipment that is displaying only                                                                  
21                      (A)  audio equipment information, functions, and controls;                                         
22                      (B)  vehicle information or controls related to speed, fuel level,                                 
23            battery charge, and other vehicle safety or equipment information;                                           
24                      (C)  navigation or global positioning;                                                             
25                      (D)  maps;                                                                                         
26                      (E)  visual information to                                                                         
27                           (i)  enhance or supplement the driver's view forward,                                         
28                 behind, or to the sides of the motor vehicle for the purpose of                                         
29                 maneuvering the vehicle; or                                                                             
30                           (ii)  allow the driver to monitor vehicle occupants seated                                    
31                 behind the driver;                                                                                      
01                      (F)  vehicle dispatching and response information for motor                                        
02            vehicles providing emergency road service or roadside assistance;                                            
03                      (G)  vehicle dispatching information for passenger transport or                                    
04            freight or package delivery;                                                                                 
05                      (H)  information for use in performing highway construction,                                       
06            maintenance, or repair or data acquisition by the Department of Transportation                               
07            and Public Facilities or a municipality; or                                                                  
08                      (I)  information for use in performing utility construction,                                       
09            maintenance, repair, or data acquisition by a public utility; in this                                        
10            subparagraph, "public utility" has the meaning given in AS 42.05.990.                                        
11    * Sec. 5. AS 28.35.161(d) is amended to read:                                                                      
12            (d)  Subsections (a) and (b) of this section do not apply to devices and                                     
13       equipment installed in an emergency vehicle, whether removable or permanently                                 
14       installed, or to the viewing of authorized screen devices by police, fire, or                                 
15       emergency medical service personnel if the user of the equipment or device                                    
16       reasonably believes the information on the device is necessary to respond to a                                
17       health, safety, or criminal matter. In this subsection, "emergency vehicle" means a                           
18       police, fire, or emergency medical service vehicle.                                                               
19    * Sec. 6. This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c). 

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