Texting Law & Legal Definition


According to 49 CFR 390.5 [Title 49 – Transportation; Subtitle B -- Other Regulations Relating to Transportation; Chapter III -- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation; Subchapter B -- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; Part 390 -- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; General; Subpart A -- General Applicability and Definitions], texting means “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This action includes, but is not limited to, short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a World Wide Web page, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or electronic text entry for present or future communication.

Texting does not include:

(i) Reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number, an extension number, or voicemail retrieval codes and commands into an electronic device for the purpose of initiating or receiving a phone call or using voice commands to initiate or receive a telephone call;

(ii) Inputting, selecting or reading information on a global positioning system or navigation system; or

(iii) Using a device capable of performing multiple functions (e.g., fleet management systems, dispatching devices, smart phones, citizens band radios, music players, etc.) for a purpose that is not otherwise prohibited in part 392.”