What a statute means can be difficult to determine.
There are several approaches to statutory interpretation that could be helpful:
- Textual: The plain meaning doesn't confine "use" to a few particular types of uses.
The plain text provides an expansive prohibition on any use of an electronic communication device.
- Legislative history/legislative intent:
- The previous version of the subsection did limit prohibited uses to only composing, sending, or reading electronic messages. Given the amendment, it seems that the legislature no longer desired that limitation.
- When the bill was introduced, Rep. D'Amico stated the purpose of the bill was to "[expand] the prohibition on driving while using an electronic communication device to include uses beyond composing, sending, or reading an electronic message."
- During debate, when asked what a person should do that doesn't have Bluetooth, Rep. D'Amico suggested "You put it on speaker phone". When asked, "Where would you place the phone?", Rep D'Amico replied, "Wherever you feel like; just not next to your ear."
- During the same debate, D'Amico described the bill: "What House Bill 1247 does is ban handheld cell phones while driving a vehicle."
- In my opinion, the declaration of the bill's sponsor, and the debate surrounding the bill treated it as expanding the prohibition from including only texting and email to also include voice conversations.
As far as I can tell, the full scope of "using" under this statute hasn't been tested in court, but I could see this going either way. The plain text provides an expansive prohibition on any use of an electronic communication device. However, a court might also be convinced by the legislative intent that only aims to add handheld voice communications to the previous list of prohibited activities (or it least it could be argued that this is the case).
Further, under a purposive construction, a court could even look beyond the explicit legislative intent and find that the core purpose was to prevent distraction, in which case "using" could include any activity on your electronic device that distracts you as if you were texting, or making a phone call (eg. selecting the next song to play in your music app).