Current law prohibits a person who is under 18 years of age from using a mobile electronic device when driving. The bill applies the prohibition to a person who is 18 years of age or older unless the person is using a hands-free accessory. The following uses are exempted:
- By a person reporting an emergency to state or local authorities;
- By an employee or contractor of a utility services provider when responding to a utility emergency;
- By a person operating a commercial truck when using a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data;
- By a first responder; or
- By a person in a motor vehicle that is lawfully parked.
The penalties for a violation are:
- For a first offense, $150 and 2 license suspension points;
- For a second offense within 24 months, $250 and 3 license suspension points; and
- For a third or subsequent offense within 24 months, $500 and 4 license suspension points.
It is an affirmative defense to a violation if the defendant has not previously committed a violation, produces proof of purchase of a hands-free accessory, and affirms, under penalty of perjury, that the defendant has not previously claimed this affirmative defense.
Current law requires a peace officer who makes a traffic stop to record the demographic information of the violator, whether a citation has been issued, and the violation cited. The bill clarifies that the peace officer must record whether the bill has been violated.
A peace officer is prohibited from stopping a driver or issuing a citation for a violation of the bill unless the officer visually observes the operator using, holding, or physically supporting with any part of the person’s body the mobile electronic device.