Bill description: SB 1283 would expand the authority of law enforcement to issue citations to individuals who use mobile electronic devices while driving and increase fines.
Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?
SB 1283 would create a new moving violation for individuals stopped by law enforcement for using a mobile device while driving. Current law only prohibits texting while driving. With a few occupational exceptions, SB 1283 would expand that violation to the use of a mobile electronic device, such as a cell-phone or tablet, for any purpose.
The current penalty for violating the texting-while-driving statute is an infraction, which carries a fine of $81.50. This includes a fixed penalty of $25, with court costs and law enforcement fees totaling $56.50. The new penalties established under SB 1283 would increase the fine to $100; the fine would increase to $250 for a second or subsequent offense. If an individual is convicted of the new infraction more than three times within three years of the first conviction, their license could be suspended for up to 90 days.
SB 1283 would also allow law enforcement to treat “distracted driving” (the term for the new infraction) as a primary offense. This grants them the authority to use this offense as the sole reason for stopping an individual while driving. This grants law enforcement officers one more reason to pull over individuals, adding to the expansive authority they already hold.
Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?
SB 1283 would exempt law enforcement officers and public safety or emergency workers from SB 1283. Additionally, government and commercial workers would be exempted so long as their electronic device is used in a similar manner to a two-way radio communication device.