New ‘Hands-Free’ Law While Driving Effective July 1: Study Ranks Rutherford County #5 Worst

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Tennessee Law Banning cellphone Texting and Driving use while driving takes effect July 1


A hands-free cell phone law takes effect July 1. House Bill 164 was narrowly approved by the House on April 17, the Senate on April 30 and the governor May 21. “This bill requires that you can not have it in your hand,” says Holsclaw, the house sponsor who has fought for tougher distracted driving laws for five years. Fine will be $50 for most offenses, but more if a serial offense ($100) or in an active school or work zone ($200). Tennessee has been cited as the worst state in the nation for distracted driving deaths.

Tennessee last toughened its texting & driving penalties in 2016. Those sanctions made texting a moving violation that comes with demerit points.

Currently, texting while driving is illegal. A handheld ban in active school zones was implemented in 2017. All cellphone use is banned for drivers with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license.

Talking on a handheld cell phone while driving a vehicle in a school zone is illegal in Tennessee. For drivers under the age of 18, all use of cell phones is barred in school zones. The 2018 law resulted from legislation by Sen. Jim Tracy and Rep. Holsclaw that was downsized from a handheld cell phone ban.

Tennessee is the 19th state to ban cellphone use while driving.

Current distracted driving prohibitions:

  • Handheld cell phone use prohibited for all drivers. Single-swipe OK. Takes effect July 1, 2019.

  • Text messaging prohibited while operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee.

  • Drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

  • Use of handheld cell phones prohibited while driving in school zones. For drivers under age 18, all cell phone use illegal.

  • School bus operators prohibited from using cell phones while

    driving, if passengers are present.

  • Installation or use of video monitors in a motor vehicle are prohibited if the intent is to provide entertainment or business content for the driver.

  • The new legislation also directs Tennessee Department of Transportation to utilize the overhead electronic informational displays located throughout the estate to provide periodic messages to the motoring public as to the new law.


The number of distracted driving deaths has skyrocketed over the years, making the impact of our cell phones on the amount of auto wrecks statistically undeniable.

According to DMV.orgIn 2015 alone, distracted driving was responsible for:

  • 3,477 total deaths.
  • 3,196 fatal car wrecks.
  • 391,000 injuries.

These statistics come directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which also estimated that year that 660,000 drivers were using an electronic device while behind the wheel during the daytime.

All told, a full 14% of fatal distracted driving crashes involved a cell phone that was in use at the time of the wreck, according to the NHTSA. Of the total number of fatal crashes in 2015, 10% involved the use of a phone.

The statistics suggest a small uptick from the previous year, when the NHTSA found that 13% of all distraction-affected crashes could be attributed to cell phones—even as the number of 16- to 24-year-olds using a phone while behind the wheel fell more than a full percentage point, dropping from 5.8% in 2014 to 4.6% in 2015.

The country also suffered the largest increase of total auto deaths in that same time period, with the number jumping 7.2% between 2014 and 2015, when 35,092 people were killed on American roadways.

A survey conducted last year by app company EverQuote also found that we’re even worse at driving than we thought. While a whopping 96% of the study’s 2,300 drivers told the company that the believed they were “responsible” on the roadways, final numbers revealed that the exact same percentage of participants had used a phone while driving within 30 days of taking the survey—all together averaging 0.4 miles of staring at a screen for every 11 miles driven.

Top County for Distracted Driving

1. Shelby County–343% Increase

  • 7.83 Distracted Driving Crashes Per 1,000 Residents
  • 5,623 More Distracted Driving Crashes in 2017 Than 2008

2. Washington County–325% Increase

  • 7.19 Distracted Driving Crashes Per 1,000 Residents
  • 676 More Distracted Driving Crashes in 2017 Than 2008

3. Williamson County–143% Increase

  • 6.19 Distracted Driving Crashes Per 1,000 Residents
  • 640 More Distracted Driving Crashes in 2017 Than 2008

4. Montgomery County–143% Increase

  • 6.17 Distracted Driving Crashes Per 1,000 Residents
  • 625 More Distracted Driving Crashes in 2017 Than 2008

5. Rutherford County–144% Increase

  • 5.56 Distracted Driving Crashes Per 1,000 Residents
  • 862 More Distracted Driving Crashes in 2017 Than 2008

25 Statistics that will Blow your Mind

Kiernan Hopkins, distracteddriveraccidents.com,  January 23, 2015


  • Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. The population of the US is just 318.9 million. At this rate, the American people could be extinct in two human lifespans. This is an astounding number of traffic accidents.

  • Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States. Over half the road accidents in the States have cell phones involved, and if this doesn’t make you realize just how potent it is, what will?

  • 37,000+ people die in automobile crashes in the U.S every year

  • Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.

  • Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.

  • 1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.

  • Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.

  • It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. This is the bare minimum amount of time it takes, and it is surprisingly small. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn your ignition when starting your car.

  • Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time. This means that the chances of an accident occurring while reading a text is extremely high indeed.

  • The average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or being distracted. There are so many vehicles on the road now that this means there is a huge chance of something terrible happening in this distance.

  • When you text while driving, the time that you spend with your eyes off the road increases by about 400%. It is already dangerous enough to be distracted by NATURE while driving. So why make things 4 times as bad by texting?

  • The chances of a crash because of any reason is increased by 23 times when you are texting. Even if the crash is another driver’s fault, you will probably have been able to avoid it if you had been looking at the road instead of the phone.

  • When you compare this to the 2.8 times more risk that dialing a number on a phone imparts, you know that you are playing with fire.

  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving. *94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.

  • Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.

  • Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.

  • 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.

  • 10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.

  • 82% of American teenagers own a cell phone, and use it regularly to call and text message.

  • 52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.

  • When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.

  • When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.

  • A study at the University of Utah found out that the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who isn’t using one.

  • 48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.

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