Texting and driving has become such a commonplace term in recent years that many drivers no longer hear its message. As technology continues to blend into the everyday lives of Tennesseans, however, warnings about distracted driving become all the more crucial. As technology changes, so, too, do the laws that surround cell phone use while driving. 

The Tennessean shared last August that, as of January 2018, handheld phone use in active state school zones is illegal. Even reading texts in these zones can land one in trouble with the law in Tennessee. Law enforcement officers behind this new regulation argued that the focal point of school zones should revolve around one aspect: the safety of children and other pedestrians. Not only does cell phone use slow down school traffic; it can pose a serious safety threat to all others on or near the road. The Tennessean goes on to share the new law comes with steep penalties, with a first offense resulting in a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to $50. An exception lies in the device itself, and drivers over 18 using a hands-free device do not face such penalties. 

The website for the National Conference of State Legislatures provides additional details on the ongoing changes in the nation’s texting and driving laws. Although no state fully bans cell phone use while driving, some hold varying regulations on the extent of cell phone use behind the wheel. The Legislature adds from the aforementioned rundown of recent Tennessee laws by noting that the new regulations apply to school bus drivers, learner’s permit and intermediate license holders. The website provides further information on texting and driving laws in each state and, while they may seem strict, they work to keep everyone on the road safe.