New Hands Free State Law for Tennessee
Statewide (August 3, 2019) – Tennessee’s new “Hands Free Law,” also known as Public Chapter No. 412, has been in effect for a full month. As the nation’s highest-rated state for distracted driving deaths, the law was created as a means to save lives and drop the daily average of 67 distraction-related crashes to zero.
Under the new law, drivers are required to put down their phones and focus on the road. This applies to holding a cellphone or mobile devices with any part of the body, texting while driving, reading a text while driving, or any other action that requires a driver to not be properly restrained by a seat belt and looking forward. The law also prohibits drivers from watching a video on a mobile device, and recording or broadcasting video.
Drivers are permitted to use an ear-piece, headphone device, or wrist device that requires only one button to initiate or terminate a voice communication. Voice-activated texts are also permitted. Additionally, in case of an emergency, drivers are permitted to communicate with law enforcement and other emergency service agencies via a mobile device while driving as long as the bona fide emergency threatens human life, health, or property.
At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, our legal team has assisted many injury victims who were harmed by a distracted driver. For this reason, we strongly encourage drivers to put their mobile devices away while driving. Your personal safety and those around you is more important than answering a text, taking a selfie, or taking your eyes off the road to look at your device.