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  83R1067 JXC-F
 
  By: Craddick H.B. No. 63
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the creation of an offense for use of a handheld
  wireless communication device for text-based communication while
  operating a motor vehicle.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  This Act may be cited as the Alex Brown Memorial
  Act.
         SECTION 2.  The heading to Section 545.425, Transportation
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 545.425.  USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE
  GENERALLY; OFFENSE.
         SECTION 3.  Section 545.425(a)(1), Transportation Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
               (1)  "Hands-free device" means speakerphone
  capability, [or] a telephone attachment, or another function or
  other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently
  installed in or on a wireless communication device or in a [the]
  motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device
  without use of either of the operator's hands, except to activate or
  deactivate a function of the wireless communication device or
  hands-free device.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter I, Chapter 545, Transportation Code,
  is amended by adding Section 545.4251 to read as follows:
         Sec. 545.4251.  USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE TO SEND
  TEXT-BASED COMMUNICATIONS; OFFENSE.  (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "Handheld wireless communication device" means a
  wireless communication device, as defined by Section 545.425, that
  is portable.  The term does not include:
                     (A)  a citizens band radio or citizens band radio
  hybrid; or
                     (B)  a commercial two-way radio communication
  device.
               (2)  "Text-based communication" means a communication
  that is designed or intended to be composed with at least one hand
  on a handheld wireless communication device and that is transmitted
  between wireless communication devices for the purpose of manually
  communicating in a nonspoken manner with another person in a
  written medium. The term includes:
                     (A)  a text message;
                     (B)  an instant message;
                     (C)  an e-mail; or
                     (D)  another type of electronic message.
         (b)  An operator commits an offense if the operator uses a
  handheld wireless communication device to read, write, or send a
  text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle unless the
  vehicle is stopped.
         (c)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)
  that:
               (1)  the operator used a handheld wireless
  communication device:
                     (A)  to read, select, or enter a telephone number
  or name for the purpose of making a telephone call;
                     (B)  in conjunction with voice-operated
  technology, a push-to-talk function, or a hands-free device, as
  defined by Section 545.425; or
                     (C)  to navigate using a global positioning system
  or navigation service; or
               (2)  the handheld wireless communication device:
                     (A)  was used by the operator to relay information
  between the operator and a dispatcher in the course of the
  operator's occupational duties; and
                     (B)  was affixed to the vehicle.
         (d)  It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b)
  that the operator is:
               (1)  an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle
  using a wireless communication device while acting in an official
  capacity;
               (2)  an operator who is licensed by the Federal
  Communications Commission while operating a radio frequency device
  other than a handheld wireless communication device; or
               (3)  an operator of a moving motor vehicle using a
  handheld wireless communication device to report illegal activity
  or summon emergency help.
         (e)  Except as provided by Subsection (f), this section
  preempts all local ordinances, rules, or regulations that are
  inconsistent with specific provisions of this section adopted by a
  political subdivision of this state relating to the use of a
  wireless communication device by the operator of a motor vehicle.
         (f)  A political subdivision of this state may adopt a local
  ordinance, rule, or regulation relating to an operator using a
  handheld wireless communication device to read, write, or send a
  text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle that is
  more stringent than this section.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.