5 Things You Need to Know About the New Hands Free Law in NH [VIDEO]
Enforcement of the new Hands Free law goes into effect on Wednesday. Some of the changes may come as a little bit of a surprise. We asked Sergeant Marn Speidel of the Dover Police Department to help break it down for us (and you) so that you don't mistakenly break the law-- because, as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
This video tutorial should get you up to speed (but not over it, heh).
The penalties? They're pretty stiff and get stiffer with each offense.
- FIRST OFFENSE $100 Fine
- SECOND OFFENSE $200 Fine
- THIRD OFFENSE (WITHIN TWO YEARS) $500 Fine
Check out the text of the law below. Given all the legalese and opting to use a hundred words where one would suffice, you will be especially appreciative of what Sergeant Speidel has done in simplifying it for you
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fourteen
AN ACT relative to use of certain electronic devices while driving.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
256:1 New Section; Serious Traffic Offenses; Use of Mobile Electronic Devices. Amend RSA 265 by inserting after section 79-b the following new section:
265:79-c Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving; Prohibition.
I.(a) No person, while driving a moving motor vehicle upon a way or temporarily halted in traffic for a traffic control device or other momentary delay, shall use any hand-held mobile electronic device capable of providing voice or data communication, including but not limited to: reading, composing, viewing, or posting any electronic message; or initiating, receiving, or conducting a conversation; or initiating a command or request to access the Internet; or inputting information into a global positioning system or navigation device; or manually typing data into any other portable electronic device. An operator of a motor vehicle who holds a cellular telephone or other electronic device capable of voice communication in the immediate proximity of his or her ear while such vehicle is in motion is presumed to be engaging in a call within the meaning of this section.
(b) “Driving,” for the purposes of this section, shall not include when a person is behind the controls of a vehicle that has pulled to the side of or off the road at a location where it is legal to do so and where the vehicle remains stationary.
II. It shall not be an offense under this section for any person driving a motor vehicle upon a way:
(a) To make use of a cellular telephone or other electronic device capable of voice communication to report an emergency to the enhanced 911 system or directly to a law enforcement agency, fire department, or emergency medical provider.
(b) To use one hand to transmit or receive messages on any non-cellular 2-way radio.
(c) To use a Bluetooth enabled or other hands-free electronic device, or a similar device that is physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle, for such a purpose to send or receive information provided the driver does not have to divert his or her attention from the road ahead. As used in this section, “hands-free electronic device” means a mobile electronic device that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of such mobile electronic device, by which a user engages in conversation without the use of either hand; provided, however, this definition shall not preclude the use of either hand merely to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the telephone.
III. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined $100 plus penalty assessment for a first offense, $250 plus penalty assessment for a second offense, and $500 plus penalty assessment for any subsequent offense within a 24-month period.
IV. No person less than 18 years of age shall use a cellular or mobile telephone or other mobile electronic device, whether hands-free or not, while driving a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped in traffic upon any way, except to report an emergency to the enhanced 911 system or any public safety agency. A person violating this paragraph shall be subject to the fines in paragraph III and license suspension or revocation under RSA 263:14, III.
256:2 Public Education Program. The commissioner of safety, with the assistance of the highway safety agency, the department of transportation, and other available public and private sector participation, and subject to funding including any federal funds, shall, prior to the effective date of section 1 of this act, develop and initiate a targeted public education program including, but not limited to, media releases, participation in available talk shows and public service announcements, driver education classes, signage, use of electronic message boards, notices or handouts at division of motor vehicles facilities, roadside rest area buildings, and other state-owned facilities, and other available means to alert the driving public to the passage of this act.
256:3 Effective Date.
I. Section 1 of this act shall take effect July 1, 2015.
II. The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved: July 25, 2014
Effective Date: I. Section 1 shall take effect July 1, 2015
II. Remainder shall take effect July 25, 2014
(Many thanks to Sergeant Marn Speidel and the Dover Police Department for assisting with this tutorial!)