Is There a Texting While Driving Law in Tennessee?
Know the Law and Your Rights if You are in an Accident that Involves Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is an incredibly dangerous behavior, and one that is associated with an increase in car accidents and car accident-related injuries and deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that texting while driving is “the most alarming” driver distraction, and that distracted driving takes thousands of lives every year.
Putting away your cellphone when behind the wheel is not just the safest thing that you can do--and may be a choice that saves your life or the life of another person--it is also the law. Here is a look into what you need to know about texting while driving laws in Tennessee:
Texting while driving in the state of Tennessee is illegal. It does not matter whether you are a commercial driver, a young driver, or an experienced driver, using your phone to transmit or read a written message, or compose a written message (this means that emails are out, too!) while behind the wheel is against the law. This law is found in Tennessee Code Section 55-8-199.
If you violate the texting while driving law in the state, you will be subject to a third-degree misdemeanor charge and a $60 fine. You will also be required to complete a driver education course as part of your penalty. Texting while driving is a primary offense, which means that a police officer can pull you over for texting while driving even if you are not committing a separate offense.
Okay, so you may know that you should not text while behind the wheel. But what about using a cellphone to chat while you are driving?
The law regarding cellphone use only applies to certain drivers. Those who cannot use a cellphone while behind the wheel are school bus drivers, drivers who have their learners’ permits, and intermediate license holders. As a note, there is a ban on all hand-held devices for all drivers who are in marked school zones.
The reason for the bans listed above is clear: Texting while driving, or using a cellphone while driving, can be very distracting and therefore very dangerous. When drivers are not focused on the task at hand and are instead distracted visually, cognitively, or mentally, they are at an increased risk of being involved in a car accident.
If you are involved in an accident caused by a texting driver, you have legal rights. These rights include the right to seek damages for the full extent of your losses by filing a claim against the at-fault driver.
At the law offices of Burch & Lockhart, our Manchester, Tennessee car accident lawyers can represent you if you have been in a crash caused by a texting driver. For your free consultation, call our law firm today or send us a message directly. We are ready to advocate for you.