Effective November 1, 2015, the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015 makes it unlawful for all drivers to operate a motor vehicle while manually composing, sending, or reading a text message (which includes posts to social media). The prohibition also extends to sending instant messages and e-mails and viewing and taking photographs and videos (HB 1965).
Violations. Violations of the Act are a primary offense, and violators can be fined up to $100. No points will be charged against a motorist’s driver’s license for violation of this Act.
Exemptions. Use of hands-free devices and voice-operated global positioning or navigation systems is exempt from the Act.
Emergency messages. The Act allows drivers to send messages about an imminent emergency to be sent to law enforcement, fire-fighting services, a hospital or physician’s office, or other emergency responders.
Local ordinances. The Act prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances that are more restrictive than the state law.