With a month yet to go before the One Hundred Ninth General Assembly of the Tennessee State Legislature convenes, according to WSMV one state lawmaker is already working on legislation he is planning on addressing during the 2016 session which he says will make Tennessee roads safer. State Rep. John Holsclaw has drafted legislation to help eliminate distracted driving. Tennessee already has laws on the books banning texting while driving, but under Holsclaw’s bill talking on a cellphone while driving would be banned unless the driver is using the phone in hands-free mode.
Currently, talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving is completely banned in 14 states according to The Governor’s Highway Safety Association. The use of cellphones by those with driver permits is restricted in thirty-seven states including Tennessee, and text messaging is illegal in forty-six states.
At present in Tennessee, there is no handheld cell phone prohibition for drivers except for the aforementioned novice drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license. Adult motorists can still hold their phones and drive at the same time, as long as they are not texting or emailing. However, the problem with the current Tennessee statute is law enforcement officials proclaim that it’s nearly impossible to enforce the texting ban since drivers can still lawfully hold a cellphone while driving, according Rep. Holsclaw.
Under this proposed legislation, violators would be cited just as those found to be texting while driving are with a fine of up to $50. The citation would be considered a “nonmoving traffic violation,” which means that no points would be added to a driver’s record for the offense. Tennessee’s cellphone and texting laws are considered primary laws means an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness another violation.
In Tennessee alone, distracted drivers caused 18,761 motor vehicle accidents in 2014, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Those collisions resulted in 54 fatalities in Tennessee that year. It can’t be stated enough that while you are behind the wheel, be diligent of drivers who are looking down at their cellphones or mobile devices. If you see a motorist texting or distracted by his or her phone while driving, it’s advisable to keep clear of them.
If you tragically end up hurt due to the negligence of a distracted driver, you should seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully represented victims of car crashes resulting from texting or dialing on a cellphone. Contact Attorney Michael Pence and schedule your consultation.