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Texting while driving now illegal in Tennessee

Category: Mobile
Posted: 03:46AM

Most people think texting while driving should be banned. It's dangerous and stupid, yet many of us constantly do it. Today a new law goes into effect making the action illegal in the state of Tennessee, adding it to a growing list of states banning the action. The law does not delineate between texting, sending/reading email, or using the web browser. According to Tom Spangler, Chief Deputy with the Knox County Sheriff's Office, "the law has very good intentions but will hopefully get some additional clarification in the future. If you want to split hairs, any of that can fall under this new law."

In addition to sending text messages while driving the law also prohibits sending text while the vehicle is at a complete stop at a red light. Spangler said that if you absolutely must send a text message, pull off the road and park the vehicle. Law enforcement acknowledges that thew new law could be hard to enforce as it will be difficult to determine if a user is dialing a number or texting. (Update) As pointed out in the comments, a review of the actual law (pdf) states that this "shall only apply to a person driving a motor vehicle that is in motion at the time".

As of May 11, 2009 there were seven states including the District of Columbia that had passed laws making the action illegal with primary enforcement, five other states make the action illegal with secondary enforcement meaning the driver can only be pulled over for another violation. Several other states only prohibit texting and/or cell phone usage to minors, drivers with permits, and bus drivers.

Source: WBIR (Knoxville) and FOX News

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Guest comment
Julie on July 1, 2009 06:24AM
Guest comment
Andy on July 1, 2009 07:18AM
Just another excuse for law enforcement to make more money
CheeseMan42 on July 1, 2009 04:38PM
If by make money you mean punish stupid people then yes. Check out the Car and Driver test that found texting while driving to be worse for reaction times than DUI.
Guest comment
jvandyke on July 1, 2009 07:20AM
Check out the actual law. Above states that you cannot be at red light and text. Bill states that you cannot text "while in motion" http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/106/Chapter/PC0201.pdf
d3bruts1d on July 1, 2009 08:34AM
Looks like Mr. Spangler was attempting to but additional requirements on the law.
xPETEZx on July 1, 2009 09:49AM
:O So, from this am I to assume its ok to be on a call while driving in the US? This side of the pond, I am pretty sure you can get 3 points + fine for using ANY device while driving. Be it your GPS, your phone or otherwise. And rightly so. you should be 100% focused on the road, not checking your mail, updating your facebook or anything other than driving.
Fireonice on July 1, 2009 12:53PM
Tinted windows FTW!!
gebraset on July 1, 2009 03:20PM
I'm personally glad they got this going, even though I am a teenager who texts like all the time. This law prevents crashes, and mainly deaths. They have the same thing being implemented in Cleveland right now. And Akron, which is where I'm at, should be receiving it shortly as well.
Andrewr05 on July 1, 2009 03:45PM
I know this is going to sound weird coming from me but if it takes a LAW to make jackasses watch the road then so be it...
GabrielT on July 1, 2009 07:43PM
This has been a law in Minnesota for the last year I think.

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