[HISTORY: Adopted by the Legislature of the County of Monroe as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 1-13-2009 by L.L. No. 1-2009]
Editor's Note: This local law also provided that it shall take effect 180 days after its enactment.
This article shall be known as the law "Prohibiting Text Messaging While Driving."
The Legislature hereby finds that distracted drivers are to blame for 80% of car accidents in the United States. Though New York State was the first to prohibit cell phone use while driving, cell phone text messaging while driving is still a problem.
The Legislature finds that a 2007 Harris Interactive poll reports that 91% of Americans believe that text messaging while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Nonetheless, 66% of young adults send text messages while driving, according to a Zogby Poll.
The purpose of this article is to deter the composition, reading or sending of text messages while operating a motor vehicle, a proven factor in car accidents.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The manner in which a wireless handset is operated for the purpose of composing, reading or sending text messages, by using an internal feature or function, or through an attachment or addition, including but not limited to an ear piece, head set, remote microphone or short-range wireless connection, thereby allowing the user to operate said device without the use of hands.
- A motor vehicle that is incapable of being operated or being operated in a safe and prudent manner due to mechanical failure, including but not limited to, engine overheating or tire failure.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle that is self-propelled by a motor, including, but not limited to, automobiles, trucks, vans, construction vehicles, etc.
- Any natural person, corporation, unincorporated association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint-stock association or other entity or business organization of any kind.
- PUBLIC HIGHWAY
- Any highway, road, street, avenue, alley, public place, public driveway, or any other public way.
- Not in motion.
- TEXT MESSAGE
- Also referred to as "short messaging service (SMS)," shall mean the process by which users send, read or receive messages on a wireless handset, including, but not limited to, text messages, instant messages, electronic messages or e-mails, in order to communicate with any person or device.
- To hold a wireless handset in one's hand.
- WIRELESS HANDSET
- A portable electronic or computing device, including cellular telephones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), capable of transmitting data in the form of a text message.
No person shall use a wireless handset to compose, read or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle on any public highway within the County of Monroe.
Notwithstanding Subsection A, this article shall not be construed to prohibit the use of any wireless handset by:
Any law enforcement, public safety or police officers, emergency services officials, first aid, emergency medical technicians and personnel, and fire safety officials in the performance of duties arising out of and in the course of their employment as such;
A person using a wireless handset to contact any law enforcement, public safety or police officers, emergency services officials, first aid, emergency medical technicians and personnel, and fire safety officials;
A person using a wireless handset inside a motor vehicle while such motor vehicle is parked, standing or stopped and is removed from the flow of traffic, in accordance with applicable laws, rules or ordinances, or is stopped due to the inoperability of such motor vehicle.
A violation of any provisions of this article shall constitute an offense and be punished as follows:
This article shall be enforced by any law enforcement agency having jurisdiction.
This article shall be null and void on the day that state-wide legislation goes into effect, incorporating either the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this article, or in the event that a pertinent state or federal administrative agency issues and promulgates regulations preempting such action by the County of Monroe. The County Legislature may determine via mere resolution whether or not identical or substantially similar state-wide legislation, or pertinent preempting state or federal regulations have been enacted for the purposes of triggering the provisions of this section.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part of this article or the application thereof to any person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such order or judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part of this article, or in its application to the person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance directly involved in the controversy in which such order or judgment shall be rendered.