LAFOLLETTE, TN. (WLAF) A new Tennessee law that bans handheld cellphone use while driving goes into effect on July 1.
Drivers caught violating the newly minted law could face a $100 fine. The citation increases to a $200 fine if the violation results in an accident.
More than a dozen other states have implemented laws similar to Tennessee’s new law including California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
Talking on a handheld cell phone while driving a vehicle in a school zone is already illegal in Tennessee. For drivers under the age of 18, all use of cell phones is barred in school zones.
Currently in Tennessee, all cell phone using while driving is banned for teen drivers, as well as school bus drivers.
“The data is there to show we have a problem with people talking on the phone while driving,” said Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins. “Most crashes happen due to driver error. This is one way to hopefully prevent a crash.”
At any given time, 7 percent of drivers on the road are on their phones
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 660,000 drivers are on their phones or other electronic devices at any given moment
“What we want people to remember is that hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean risk-free. When you’re looking at your own driving behavior, this is a great step towards reducing those distractions in the car,” said Megan Cooper with AAA.
AAA estimates using a cell phone while driving, hands-free or not, raises the chance of crashing by four times.
(WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 06/20/2019-6 AM)