As technology continues to advance whereby nearly everyone has a smartphone now, texting while driving isn’t the only digital communication concern for Tennessee drivers. Tweeting, direct-messaging, facebooking and any other form of digital communication via a hand held device is prevalent and a very dangerous task to perform while operating a vehicle. Yet many people on the road of all ages continue to text, tweet or DM.
The penalties for being caught texting while driving in Tennessee is a paltry $50 fine, and points go on your license if you’ve violated another traffic law at the same time.
So the question becomes should Tennessee’s texting while driving law(s) be more comprehensive and punitive than what is currently in place? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tennessee’s texting law(s) aren’t strong enough, and as a result, Tennessee does not receive any of the funds that the NHTSA is giving out to states with qualified distracted-driving laws.
To qualify for the NHTSA grant, a texting-while-driving law must include in its definition of “texting while driving” the act of sending or receiving electronic messages not only while your vehicle is in motion, but also when it’s not in motion. This means the law prohibits you from texting even when your vehicle has stopped. The law must also escalate penalties for repeat offenders, which is also not a part of the Tennessee statute related to texting while driving.
Last year, only seven states — Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginia — were awarded the NHTSA texting-while-driving grants. In Georgia, drivers are prohibited from texting even when their vehicles are stopped.
Texting while driving is an all too common cause of serious automobile accidents in Tennessee resulting in injury and sometimes even death. If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of a car collision caused by a texting driver, you should seek the services of a competent, experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact Michael Pence Attorney At Law to schedule a free consultation.