< Back to S. 1938 (111th Congress, 2009–2010)

Text of the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2010

This bill was introduced on June 9, 2010, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Oct 27, 2009 (Introduced).

This is not the latest text of this bill.

Source: GPO

S 1938 IS

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1938

To establish a program to reduce injuries and deaths caused by cellphone use and texting while driving.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 27, 2009

Mr. ROCKEFELLER (for himself, Mrs. HUTCHISON, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. SCHUMER, MR. THUNE, and Ms. KLOBUCHAR) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To establish a program to reduce injuries and deaths caused by cellphone use and texting while driving.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the ‘Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009’.

    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. Distracted driving incentive grants.

      Sec. 3. Distracted driving national education program.

      Sec. 4. Research and data collection.

      Sec. 5. Research program.

      Sec. 6. FCC report on distracted driving technology.

      Sec. 7. Provision of information to States.

      Sec. 8. Commercial motor vehicles and school buses.

      Sec. 9. Funding.

SEC. 2. DISTRACTED DRIVING INCENTIVE GRANTS.

    (a) In General- Chapter 4 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘413. Distracted driving incentive grants

    ‘(a) In General- The Secretary shall make a grant under this section to any State that enacts and implements a statute that meets the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

    ‘(b) Prohibition on Texting While Driving- A State statute meets the requirements of this subsection if the statute--

      ‘(1) prohibits the use of a personal wireless communications device by a driver for texting while driving;

      ‘(2) makes violation of the statute a primary offense;

      ‘(3) establishes--

        ‘(A) a minimum fine for a first violation of the statute; and

        ‘(B) increased fines for repeat violations; and

      ‘(4) provides increased civil and criminal penalties than would otherwise apply if a vehicle accident is caused by a driver who is using such a device in violation of the statute.

    ‘(c) Prohibition on Handheld Cellphone Use While Driving- A State statute meets the requirements of this subsection if the statute--

      ‘(1) prohibits a driver from holding a personal wireless communications device to conduct a telephone call while driving;

      ‘(2) allows the use of hands-free devices that enable a driver, other than a driver who has not attained the age of 18, to initiate, conduct, or receive a telephone call without holding the device;

      ‘(3) makes violation of the statute a primary offense;

      ‘(4) requires distracted driving issues to be tested as part of the State driver’s license examination;

      ‘(5) establishes--

        ‘(A) a minimum fine for a first violation of the statute; and

        ‘(B) increased fines for repeat violations; and

      ‘(6) provides increased civil and criminal penalties than would otherwise apply if a vehicle accident is caused by a driver who is using such a device in violation of the statute.

    ‘(d) Permitted Exceptions- A statute that meets the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) may provide exceptions for--

      ‘(1) use of a personal wireless communications device by a driver to contact emergency services;

      ‘(2) manipulation of such a device by a driver to activate, deactivate, or initialize the hands-free functionality of the device;

      ‘(3) use of a personal wireless communications device by emergency services personnel while operating an emergency services vehicle and engaged in the performance of their duties as emergency services personnel; and

      ‘(4) use of a device by an individual employed as a commercial motor vehicle driver, or a school bus driver, within the scope of such individual’s employment if such use is permitted under the regulations promulgated pursuant to section 31152 of title 49.

    ‘(e) Grant Year- The Secretary shall make a grant under this section to a State in any year in which the State--

      ‘(1) enacts a law that meets the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) before July 1; or

      ‘(2) maintains a statute, that meets the requirements of subsections (b) and (c), enacted in a previous year that is in effect through June 30th of the grant year.

    ‘(f) Disbursement and Apportionment- Grants to qualifying States shall be disbursed after July 1 each year according to the apportionment criteria of section 402(c).

    ‘(g) Use of Grant Funds- A State that receives a grant under this section--

      ‘(1) shall use at least 50 percent of the grant--

        ‘(A) to educate and advertise to the public information about the dangers of texting or using a cellphone while driving;

        ‘(B) for traffic signs that notify drivers about the distracted driving law of the State;

        ‘(C) for law enforcement of the distracted driving law; or

        ‘(D) for a combination of such uses; and

      ‘(2) may use up to 50 percent of the grant for other projects that improve traffic safety and that are consistent with the criteria in section 402(a).

    ‘(h) Definitions- In this section:

      ‘(1) Driving- The term ‘driving’ means operating a motor vehicle on a public road, including operation while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign, or otherwise. It does not include operating a motor vehicle when the vehicle has pulled over to the side of, or off, an active roadway and has stopped in a location where it can safely remain stationary.

      ‘(2) Hands-free device- The term ‘hands-free device’ means a device that allows a driver to use a personal wireless communications device to initiate, conduct, or receive a telephone call without holding the personal wireless communications device.

      ‘(3) Personal wireless communications device- The term ‘personal wireless communications device’ means a device through which personal wireless services (as defined in section 332(c)(7)(C)(i) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(C)(i))) are transmitted. It does not include a global navigation satellite system receiver used for positioning, emergency notification, or navigation purposes.

      ‘(4) Primary offense- The term ‘primary offense’ means an offense for which a law enforcement officer may stop a vehicle solely for the purpose of issuing a citation in the absence of evidence of another offense.

      ‘(5) Public road- The term ‘public road’ has the meaning given that term in section 402(c).

      ‘(6) Texting- The term ‘texting’ means reading from or manually entering data into a personal wireless communications device, including doing so for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication.’.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- The table of contents for chapter 4 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

      ‘413. Distracted driving incentive grants.’.

SEC. 3. DISTRACTED DRIVING NATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM.

    (a) In General- The Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shall establish and administer a program under which at least 2 high-visibility education and advertising campaigns related to distracted driving will be carried out for the purpose specified in subsection (b) for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

    (b) Purpose- The purpose of an education and advertising campaign under this section shall be to educate the public about the risks associated with distracted driving, including those associated with--

      (1) texting (as defined in section 413(h)(6) of title 23, United States Code) while driving; and

      (2) the use of personal wireless communications devices (as defined in section 413(h)(3) of that title) while driving.

    (c) Advertising- The Administrator may use, or authorize the use of, funds available to carry out this section to pay for the development, production, publication, and broadcast of electronic and print media advertising in carrying out traffic safety education and advertising campaigns under this section. The Administrator--

      (1) shall give consideration to advertising directed at non-English speaking populations, including those who listen, read, or watch nontraditional media; and

      (2) may use a portion of the funds available for this program to target local jurisdictions that have enacted laws prohibiting texting or the use of personal wireless communications devices while driving.

    (d) Coordination With States- The Administrator may coordinate with the States to carry out the education and advertising campaigns under this section to coincide with high-visibility enforcement of State laws prohibiting texting while driving or the use of personal wireless communications devices while driving.

    (e) Annual Evaluation- The Administrator shall conduct an annual evaluation of the effectiveness of the education and advertising campaigns under this section, and report the results to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.

SEC. 4. RESEARCH AND DATA COLLECTION.

    (a) In General- Section 408(e)(2) of title 23, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

      ‘(2) Data on use of electronic devices-

        ‘(A) The model data elements required under paragraph (1) shall include data elements, as determined appropriate by the Secretary, in consultation with the States and appropriate elements of the law enforcement community, on the impact on traffic safety of the use of electronic devices while driving.

        ‘(B) In order to meet the requirements of subparagraph (A), State and local governments shall--

          ‘(i) require that official vehicle accident investigation reports include a designated space to record whether or not the use of a personal wireless communications device (as defined in section 413(h)(3)) was in use at the time of the accident by any driver involved in the accident;

          ‘(ii) require that all law enforcement officers, as part of a vehicle accident investigation, inquire about and record the information required by clause (i); and

          ‘(iii) incorporate the information collected under clause (i) into its traffic safety information system.’.

    (b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to grants under section 408 of title 23, United States Code, for fiscal years beginning after fiscal year 2010.

SEC. 5. RESEARCH PROGRAM.

    (a) In General- The Secretary of Transportation shall establish a research program to study distracted driving by passenger and commercial vehicle drivers.

    (b) Scope- The program shall include studies of--

      (1) driver behavior;

      (2) vehicle technology; and

      (3) portable electronic devices that are commonly brought into passenger or commercial vehicles.

    (c) Research Agreements-

      (1) In general- In carrying out this section the Secretary may grant research contracts to non-governmental entities to study distracted driving.

      (2) Limitations- The Secretary may not grant a research contract under this section to any person that produces or sells--

        (A) electronic equipment that is used in vehicles;

        (B) portable electronic equipment commonly brought into passenger or commercial vehicles; or

        (C) passenger or commercial vehicles.

SEC. 6. FCC REPORT ON DISTRACTED DRIVING TECHNOLOGY.

    Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall submit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce that identifies--

      (1) data the Commission can collect and analyze that will assist in understanding and reducing the problem of distracted driving involving the use of personal communications devices;

      (2) existing and developing wireless communications technology that may be used to reduce problems associated with distracted driving; and

      (3) existing authority that the Commission may use to assist in reducing those problems.

SEC. 7. PROVISION OF INFORMATION TO STATES.

    Section 30105 of title 49, United States Code, shall not apply to providing government-sponsored research and highway safety data, or providing technical assistance, relating to legislative proposals addressing the dangers or potential dangers of--

      (1) texting while driving a passenger vehicle, school bus, or commercial vehicle; or

      (2) the use of personal wireless communications devices (as defined in section 413(h)(3) of title 23, United States Code) while driving a passenger vehicle, school bus, or commercial vehicle.

SEC. 8. COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES AND SCHOOL BUSES.

    (a) In General- Subchapter III of chapter 311 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘31152. Regulation of the use of distracting devices in commercial motor vehicles and school buses

    ‘(a) In General- No later than 1 year after the enactment of the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009, the Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations on the use of electronic or wireless devices, including cell phones and other distracting devices, by an individual employed as the operator of--

      ‘(1) a commercial motor vehicle while that individual is engaged in the performance of such individual’s duties as the operator of the commercial motor vehicle; or

      ‘(2) a school bus (as defined in section 30125(a)(1)) that is a commercial motor vehicle (as defined in section 31301(4)(A)) while that individual is engaged in the performance of such individual’s duties as the operator of the school bus.

    ‘(b) Basis for Regulations- The Secretary shall base the regulations required by subsection (a) on accident data analysis, the results of ongoing research, and other information, as appropriate.

    ‘(c) Prohibited Use- The Secretary shall prohibit the use of such devices in circumstances in which the Secretary determines that their use interferes with the driver’s safe operation of a school bus or commercial motor vehicle.

    ‘(d) Permitted Use- Under the regulations, the Secretary may permit the use of a device, the use of which is prohibited under subsection (c), if the Secretary determines that such use is necessary for the safety of the driver or the public in emergency circumstances.’.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- The table of contents for chapter 311 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 31151 the following:

      ‘31152. Regulation of the use of distracting devices in commercial motor vehicles and school buses.’.

SEC. 9. FUNDING.

    Section 2001(a) of Public Law 109-59 is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘and’ in paragraph (4);

      (2) by striking ‘2009.’ in paragraph (4) and inserting ‘2009, $94,500,000 for fiscal year 2010, and $94,500,000 for fiscal year 2011. If any amount of the funds authorized by this paragraph has not been allocated to States meeting the criteria of section 406 of title 23, United States Code, by July 1 of a fiscal year beginning after fiscal year 2009, the unallocated amount shall be allocated to States meeting the criteria of section 413 of that title.’; and

      (3) by redesignating paragraph (11) as paragraph (12) and inserting after paragraph (10) the following:

      ‘(11) Distracted driving program- For carrying out section 3 of the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009, $30,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011.’.