It might surprise Tennessee drivers to hear that their state has the highest rate of distracted driving in the country. The rate for Tennessee is five times the national average. Coming to an average of 65 motor vehicle accidents a day, there were more than 23,700 accidents involving a distracted driver in 2019.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any behavior that takes the driver’s eyes, hands or mind off the road. While texting and driving is the main culprit behind distracted driving crashes, there are also other actions drivers do that can take their attention off the road. This could be daydreaming, drinking coffee, speaking to someone in the passenger seat, applying makeup or even fatigue. Any action that takes a driver’s focus off the road and slows down their reaction time can be considered a distraction and become a hazard for everyone on the road at the time.
Tennessee’s Hand’s Free Law
On July 1, 2019, Tennessee’s hands free law went into effect. The main aim of the law is to get drivers to put down their phone and focus on the road. It is now illegal for drivers to
- hold a cellphone or any mobile device with any part of their body
- watch a video on a cellphone or mobile device
- record a video on a cellphone or mobile device
- try to grab a cellphone in a way that means the driver will no longer be wearing a seatbelt or will no longer be in a proper seated position
- read, write or send text-based communication
While there are monetary penalties for violating this law, the actual ramifications can be devastating if the distracted driver is involved in a crash that injures someone else. The accident victim may be able to hold the distracted driver accountable for his or her behavior and an experienced attorney may be able to help establish a case of distracted driving.