Lawmaker Takes Aim at Tennessee's Distracted Driving Problem
Drivers who do not pay attention to the road are the cause of many accidents in Tennessee. Since smartphones have become increasingly common, the problem seems to be getting worse. In fact, according to News Channel 5, Tennessee has more traffic deaths due to cell phone use than other state in the country.
While a driver can be distracted by any number of things, smartphones are such an ingrained part of many people’s daily lives that it can hard to put them down, even when behind the wheel. Interacting on social media or sending a text message can take a driver’s eyes off the road. Even being distracted for a few seconds can lead to devastating results.
That is why one lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would make any cell phone use that is not hands-free illegal, reports the Tennessean. Texting while driving is already outlawed in Tennessee, however this new bill would make any hand-held cell phone use illegal. If caught, violators would be subject to a fine. Sanctions would also apply to minors who were caught using their phones.
A similar bill was introduced last year, although it did not pass. The state senator sponsoring the bill thinks that people may be reluctant to support something that they view as restricting their freedom. However, from a safety perspective, the passage of the law could possibly save lives. Another bill is before the state House, which would stiffen penalties for people who cause crashes because of distracted driving. It remains to be seen whether either bill will garner enough support to pass.