Hundreds of Citation Issued to Drivers in Shelby County for Hands-Free Violations
MEMPHIS, TN- Wmcactionnews.com writes that the number of tickets issued for violations of the Tennessee hands-free law indicates that drivers frequently talk on the phone or text while operating vehicles. The law was enacted in 2019 and became effective last July. In the short time period in which it has been active, police have written up 9,500 drivers throughout the state for using hand-held devices. Police stated that they had issued 560 citations to Shelby County drivers and 210 in Tipton County. Drivers in Fayette have received 68 citations so far.*
Motorists who violate the hands-free law commit a Class C misdemeanor and face a $50 fine for their first offense. For drivers who continue to use their phones while driving, the penalty will increase. If a motorist causes a crash, the fine is $100, even for a first-time offense. If the violation occurs in a school zone or work zone, the ticket will cost the driver $200.
Police in certain municipalities are also writing tickets to drivers who violate hands-free city ordinances.
Hands-free laws are being used to combat distracted driving in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, distracted motorists kill 3,166 people. Distracted driving includes behaviors other than driving while using a cellphone, but phones have become the biggest culprit when it comes to motorist distractions.
When a driver looks at a text message, on average, they look away from the road for about five seconds. When traveling 55 miles per hour, this means a driver will potentially travel the length of a football field without looking where they are going. The possibility of something going wrong in this scenario seems fairly clear.
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Sources:https://www.wmcactionnews5.com/2020/02/20/hundreds-shelby-county-drivers-cited-violating-hands-free-law/?outputType=amp and https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving