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Tennessee bans cell phones while driving

For years now, Tennessee has had a distracted driving problem. Many motorists do not see the problem with texting or talking on the phone while operating a vehicle. It has led to numerous serious injuries over the years, but now, lawmakers have done something about it. As of July 1st of this year, drivers can no longer hold a cell phone while behind the wheel. 

Tennessee recently passed a "Hands-Free Law," which states that drivers cannot use a cell phone while driving. The law still allows motorists to use a hands-free device to make phone calls while operating a motor vehicle. Tennessee has one of the worst rates for distracted driving fatalities and injuries in the country, so the new law aims to lower those numbers and make the state's roads safer. 

What does the law ban?

The law makes it illegal to even hold a cell phone while driving. Even if you do not text or call but merely hold the phone, the police can pull you over and give you a ticket. The law even bans reaching for a mobile device in a manner that forces the driver to get out of the proper driving position. Motorists cannot read, send or write any text messages, and they cannot record video.

What are the penalties for violating the law?

For a first-time offense, a driver can expect to receive a $50 fine. For a third offense, the fine increases to $100. However, a higher fine may go into effect during the first offense if distracted driving resulted in a car crash. A fine of $200 is possible for drivers who look at their phones while going through a work zone. 

Many states have already banned cell phones while driving, so Tennessee has made strides in the right direction. Thousands of crashes occur every year due to distracted driving. Hopefully, with this new law, that number soon decreases. 

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  • TBA - Tennessee Bar Association
  • Tennessee State Courts - TNcourts.gov
  • Athens Area Chamber of Commerce
  • LAET - Legal aid of east Tennessee - Justice for all
  • Board of Professional Responsibility of supreme court of Tennessee