Beginning July 1, 2019, Tennessee will be considered a hand’s free state. The Hand’s Free Law, also known as Public Chapter No.412, requires motorists to keep their phones out of hand while operating their vehicle which will, in turn, allow them to focus on the road. The new law aims to eliminate distracted driving which is responsible for causing thousands of deaths in the State of TN each year.
Did you know that in 2018, there were approximately 24,600 wrecks involving a distracted driver in TN? That averages out to about 67 crashes occurring each day during that year alone.
Important Things You Need to Know About Tennessee’s Hands-Free Law
Whether you live in Nashville, Knoxville, or any other city within the State of TN, there are some things you need to become aware of regarding the new law. According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, the new law will make it illegal for drivers in the State of TN to:
- Hold a cellphone with any part of their body. This means that if you are caught by an officer with a cellphone in your hand, whether you are using it or not, you shall be found guilty of violating the law and subject to the penalties the violation carries with it.
- Write, send, or read any text-based communication that includes, but is not limited to “a text message, instant message, email, or internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.”
- “Reach for a mobile device in a manner that would require the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt.”
- Watch a video or movie on a cellphone unless its data is related to the navigation of the motor vehicle.
- Record or broadcast video on a cellphone.
Some other important things drivers in TN need to be aware of when it comes to the hands-free law include:
- You are still permitted to talk on your phone so as long as you use an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on your wrist that can be used to conduct voice-based communication. You are also permitted to use one button on the phone to either initiate or terminate the call.
- If you are someone who enjoys listening to music while driving, you’ll be happy to know that you can still stream music on your mobile device, however, you cannot stream music that includes a video on the screen of your cellphone. You also cannot touch your cellphone to start or stop the music while you are driving. Essentially, if you plan on streaming music in your vehicle from your cellular device, you should start it before taking off and play it from a location on your phone that doesn’t include video.
- In the event of an emergency, you are permitted to use your cellphone to “communicate with law enforcement agencies, medical providers, fire departments, or other emergency service agencies while driving a motor vehicle, if the use is necessitated by a bona fide emergency.” This would include “a natural or human occurrence that threatens human health, life, or property.”
What penalties will a driver face if he or she violates Tennessee’s Hands-Free Law?
The first time a driver is caught violating the law, he or she will be subject to paying a $50 fine, however, if an accident occurs as a result of the violation, the fine increases to $100. When a driver is caught violating the law in a work zone while workers are present or in a marked school zone while flashers are in operation, a driver shall then be required to pay a $200 fine.
What should I do if I was involved in an auto wreck in Nashville, TN with a driver who was texting on their phone?
If you were involved in a car wreck with a distracted driver in Nashville who was using their cellphone, the Law Office of George R. Fusner Jr. is here to help you better understand what your legal rights are. Whether you suffered injuries, your vehicle sustained damage, or both, our office will aid you in recovering the compensation you need and deserve. Many of the victims of distracted driving accidents often suffer serious and even debilitating injuries (i.e. spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, etc.) which is why we make it our duty to get them the money that will allow them to afford the care, therapy, and medications needed.
To learn more about our office and the legal services we can provide you with, give us a call now at 615-251-0005 to speak with an experienced car wreck attorney in Nashville, TN.
You can reach the Law Office of George R. Fusner Jr. at
7104 Peach Court
Brentwood, TN 37027