Multitasking or engaging in any kind of activity that takes drivers' attention away from the road has become an unfortunate part of our driving culture. At any given time, a driver within your vicinity could be texting, making a phone call, browsing social media, eating, drinking, or taking care of personal hygiene behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three common types of distracted driving:
- Visual — looking anywhere else than at the road ahead
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel to perform another task
- Cognitive — daydreaming or taking your mind off driving
How are Tennessee officials dealing with distracted driving?
As of July 1, a statewide cellphone ban for Tennessee drivers went into effect. In conjunction with the new law, a campaign dubbed Hands Free Tennessee was launched to educate drivers on exactly what is prohibited behind the wheel. The new law, PC0412, prohibits drivers from:
- Holding a cellphone or other electronic device with any part of their body
- Writing, sending, or reading any text-based communication
- Reaching for a cellphone in a way that impacts a driver's seating position
- Watching videos
- Recording videos
Under the new law, drivers are allowed to use:
- Hands-free devices, like earpieces and Bluetooth technology
- Voice-to-text technology
- GPS navigation that is mounted on the dashboard, windshield, or center console
- One swipe or tap is allowed on mounted cellphones
Those found in violation of the cellphone ban for the first time can be fined $50. Subsequent violations can result in a $100 fine. If a driver is caught using a cellphone in a work or school zone, fines up to $200 can be imposed.
Only law enforcement, first responders, utility workers, and those making emergency calls are exempt from this law.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Tennessee had nearly 223,000 distracted driving crashes from 2009-2019 -- 24,246 of which occurred in Davidson County.
What are my legal options if I'm injured by a distracted driver?
Tennessee's statewide cellphone ban for drivers is a good start at cracking down on distracted driving. Unfortunately, not all forms of distraction can be prohibited behind the wheel.
Distracted drivers who cause crashes aren't always texting or using a handheld device. They could be reaching for an item, talking with passengers, looking at objects both inside or outside of their vehicles, or adjusting the setting on their infotainment system.
Many forms of distracted driving also leave little-to-no physical evidence. For that reason, the number of distracted driving crashes could likely be higher than statistics conclude.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash with an inattentive driver, you need a strong legal advocate on your side who can launch a thorough investigation. The legal team at Thompson Law, based in Nashville, knows how to gather evidence against negligent drivers and negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement.
Schedule your free consultation by contacting us online today.