On July 1, 2019, Tennessee’s new hands-free law went into effect. It prohibits drivers from holding phones in their hands or with any other part of their body while operating a vehicle.
Although it was previously illegal for a person to text while driving, law enforcement had a difficult time enforcing the law. Now, if an officer sees someone with a cell phone in their hand while driving, they could issue a citation. The person does not have to be texting or making a call to violate the new law. Even if the phone isn’t on, but the driver is holding it, they could be ticketed.
Specifically, the new law prohibits:
- Holding a phone or mobile device with hands or any body part;
- Reading or sending text messages;
- Attempting to grab a phone, which would require the driver to be out of their seat or unrestrained;
- Watching a movie or video; and
- Recording movies or videos
Drivers can use Bluetooth or other hands-free devices to make phone calls, and they are permitted to touch one button on their cell to answer or send a call. Additionally, as long as they use voice commands, they can send text messages.
A person who violates the new law could be penalized as follows:
- 3 points added to their driving record
- $50 fine for a first offense
- $100 fine for a third and subsequent offense, or if holding the phone caused an accident
- $200 for offenses occurring in work or school zones
Because of the accessibility and constant notifications, cell phones can cause drivers to become distracted while behind the wheel. Distracted driving leads to numerous car accidents that result in injury or death. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, over 24,600 collisions occurred because a driver wasn’t paying attention. A study by ValuePenguin listed Tennessee as one of the highest-ranking states for distracted driving fatalities.
Contact Eldridge & Blakney for Legal Help Pursuing a Claim After an Accident
When a driver’s negligence causes a car crash, they could be held liable for resulting damages. In these types of cases, the victim must prove that the other party’s reckless actions led to the accident. Our attorneys will guide you through the complex personal injury claim process, reviewing the facts of your situation and developing a compelling legal strategy. We will work toward obtaining the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain/suffering, and other applicable losses and/or expenses.
To schedule your free consultation, call us at (865) 544-2010 or contact us online.