Section 32-5A-350

Definitions; prohibited activities; fines; exceptions.

(a) For purposes of this article, the following words have the following meanings:

(1) WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATION DEVICE. A handheld cellular telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a stand alone computer, or any other similar wireless device that is readily removable from a vehicle and is used to write, send, or read text or data through manual input. The term "wireless telecommunication device" does not include a device which is voice-operated and which allows the user to send or receive a text-based communication without the use of either hand except to activate or deactivate a feature or function.

(2) WRITE, SEND, OR READ A TEXT-BASED COMMUNICATION. Using a wireless telecommunication device to manually communicate with any person using text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail. The term does not include reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number or name in a cell or wireless telephone or communication device for the purpose of making a telephone call.

(b) A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway in Alabama while using a wireless telecommunication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

(c) A person who violates subsection (b) is subject to fines as follows:

(1) Twenty-five dollars ($25) for a first violation.

(2) Fifty dollars ($50) for a second violation.

(3) Seventy-five dollars ($75) for a third or subsequent violation.

(d) Law enforcement officers enforcing this section may treat a violation of this section as the primary or sole reason for issuing a citation to a driver.

(e) The following uses of wireless communication devices shall not be subject to the restrictions in this section:

(1) An individual using a wireless communication device to obtain emergency services including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity.

(2) An individual using a wireless communication device while the motor vehicle is parked on the shoulder of the highway, road, or street.

(3) An individual using a wireless communication device as a global positioning or navigation system to receive driving directions which has been pre-programmed with the desired coordinates. The programming of coordinates while operating a vehicle remains a violation of this section.

(Act 2012-291, p. 585, §1.)