TN House Votes in Favor of Bill to Increase Fines for Texting while Driving

Posted in Car Accident,Distracted Driving,Tennessee Accident Law on March 29, 2016

TN House Votes in Favor of Bill to Increase Fines for Texting while Driving

Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would increase the penalties levied on drivers who are caught texting while they’re behind the wheel.

According to a report by WSMV.com, the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, passed on a 52-36 vote. The measure needed at least 50 votes to clear the House chamber. It will now move to the Senate, where it will be voted on tomorrow.

People who are caught texting while driving in Tennessee currently face a $50 fine because it’s considered a non-moving traffic law violation. However, if the bill is passed and becomes law, texting while driving will become a moving violation, which means drivers who are caught will be required to attend driver education courses and incur a penalty of four points on their driver’s licenses.

4 Myths about Texting While Driving

In recent years, the federal government and state governments have launched awareness campaigns to make people more familiar with the dangers of texting and driving. In addition to stricter laws against it, these campaigns have helped bring the issue to the forefront of many drivers’ attention. However, there are still many myths concerning texting and driving.

Because cell phones and smartphones are so ubiquitous and a part of daily life for most people, driving without one simply isn’t an option for the majority of drivers. But there are ways you can make driving with a cell phone in your car, pocket, or purse safer—and that includes being aware of four myths about texting while driving:

  1. Texting or talking on the phone with a hands-free device is safe.

Using a hands-free headset to text or talk on the phone while you drive is legal in many states that have otherwise banned the usage of cellphones will behind the wheel, but studies show that there are still many risks associated with using a phone while driving—even with a hands-free headset.

  1. Texting and driving isn’t dangerous if you can do it without looking away from the road.

Some drivers are able to send text messages without looking at their cell phones or smartphones. However, just because your eyes are still on the roadway doesn’t mean your mind is. In addition, it’s important to always grip the wheel firmly with two hands, and it’s impossible to do that if you’re texting.

  1. Texting and driving is only a problem for young people.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 82 percent of adults ages 25-39 admitted to using their phones while driving, and 43 percent admitted to using them regularly. Tied for second was drivers ages 40-59 and drivers ages 19-24. Texting and driving is a dangerous activity that isn’t limited to a single demographic or age group.

  1. It’s okay to input directions on a smartphone’s GPS while driving.

Most modern smartphones are equipped with GPS chips, making them convenient for navigating around unfamiliar areas. However, these features pose significant risks for distraction. If you’re navigating via a GPS, turn on the voice function to hear the directions instead of looking at the display. In addition, if you need to change your destination, pull over and input the address manually.

The Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law know that accidents caused by texting and driving in Tennessee have increased significantly over the past decade. That’s why we urge all drivers to put away their phones when they’re behind the wheel and to only use them when they’ve pulled over to the side of the road, in a parking lot, or when they’ve reached their destinations.

If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver—whether he or she was texting and driving, driving while intoxicated, or violating traffic laws—you may be eligible to receive compensation for your accident-related expenses. To find out how we can help your family during this time, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.