2013 Regular Session
To: Highways and Transportation; Judiciary, Division B
By: Senator(s) Collins
AN ACT TO CREATE SECTION 63-3-1217, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROHIBIT TEXTING WHILE DRIVING; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO PROVIDE EXEMPTIONS; TO REPEAL SECTION 63-1-73, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROHIBITS TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BY THE HOLDERS OF TEMPORARY AND INTERMEDIATE LICENSES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 63-3-1217, Mississippi Code of 1972:
63-3-1217. (1) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this subsection, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "Cellular telephone" means an analog or digital wireless telephone authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to operate in the frequency bandwidth reserved for cellular radiophones.
(b) "E911" has the meaning ascribed in Section 19-5-303.
(c) "Personal digital assistant" means a wireless electronic communication device that provides for data communication other than by voice.
(d) "Wireless communication device" means a device that uses a commercial mobile service, as defined by 47 USC Section 332, and includes, but is not limited to, a cellular telephone or a personal digital assistant.
(2) (a) It is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle on a highway while using a wireless communication device to manually type or send or to read a written communication while the motor vehicle is in motion.
(b) A person is not writing, sending or reading a written communication if the person reads, selects or enters a telephone number or other entry in a wireless communication device for the purpose of making or receiving a phone call.
(c) This section does not preclude the use of either hand to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of a wireless communication device.
(3) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(a) Law enforcement and safety personnel;
(b) Drivers of authorized emergency vehicles;
(c) A person who is reporting reckless or negligent behavior;
(d) A person who believes that the person or another person is in physical danger;
(e) Written messages sent or received while the vehicle is parked;
(f) The use of a wireless communication device for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation:
(i) An emergency response or E911 operator;
(ii) A hospital, physician's office or health clinic;
(iii) A provider of ambulance services;
(iv) A provider of firefighting services;
(v) A law enforcement agency;
(g) The use of technology utilizing a cellular connection to a vehicle to relay vehicle operational information between the vehicle and a call center or repair facility; or
(h) A vehicle navigation system utilizing a cellular connection to update databases and provide real-time traffic information.
(4) A person shall not use a wireless communication device while operating a passenger bus with a minor passenger in the bus, except for an emergency and, in the case of a school bus driver, for official school business.
(5) (a) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, is punishable by a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).
(b) A person in violation of this section at the time the person is involved in a motor vehicle accident shall be subject to a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) in addition to any other fine or penalty that may be imposed by law.
(c) A law enforcement officer investigating a motor vehicle accident in which a person is cited for violating this section shall indicate on the written accident report any use by the driver of a wireless communication device to send or receive a written message at the time of the accident.
SECTION 2. Section 63-1-73, Mississippi Code of 1972, prohibiting texting while driving by the holders of temporary and intermediate licenses, and any wireless device use by certain bus drivers, is repealed.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2013.