Is Distracted Driving a Criminal Offense in Tennessee?

Distracted driving is a serious problem in Tennessee, which has one of the worst records for crash-related fatalities. Tennesseans are at a higher risk for being injured in a distracted driving crash. The statistics compiled to track distracted driving show how the problem is improving, but it is still a serious issue. Tennessee has five times the average amount of deaths from distracted driving.

Distracted Driving in Tennessee is a Class C misdemeanor carrying the following penalties or fines:

  • First violation, $50
  • Third+ violations or violations involving an accident, $100
  • Violations in work zones or school zones, $200
  • Each violation equals three demerit points to a licensee’s driving record

Nationally, cell phone usage while driving is responsible for 1.6 million crashes, and 25% of all car accidents are due to texting while driving. Tennessee has very stringent drinking while driving laws, and yet, texting is six times more likely to lead to a car accident than drunk driving.

Tennessee has also enacted laws to discourage mobile phone usage while driving, including:

  • Hands-Free Requirement: Drivers cannot physically support, hold or reach for a mobile phone while driving. It also prohibits sending, writing, or reading while driving.
  • No Texting: As many as half a million people are seriously injured from distracted texting-related car crashes. All drivers are prohibited from texting while behind the wheel. The only exceptions are emergency medical professionals, police, and officials representing the state.
  • New Drivers Laws: Drivers operating a vehicle with a learner’s permit are prohibited from texting while driving because new drivers are at a higher risk for crashes.
  • GPS map restrictions: When drivers use mobile phone map apps as the navigation system for their cars, it’s prohibited, but if the phone is mounted, then it’s considered acceptable.

What To Do If You’re Stopped For Distracted Driving

Personal injury cases are built on evidence of negligence. Operators who use their phones while driving could be held responsible for injuries inflicted. Laws surrounding distracted driving have continued to evolve, so if you’ve been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, you could have a case for financial compensation.

At Patton Pittman, we can sit with you and discuss your case's details and help create a strategy. It only takes a few seconds of distracted driving to cause a serious injury. If you are injured in a distracted driving accident, seek emergency care. Make sure to keep a record of all of your injuries, and you will also need to save all of your paperwork. You will need a copy of the police report detailing the other car's insurance information involved in the accident. It’s important to make your decision about a personal injury lawsuit sooner rather than later. The statute of limitation for personal injury cases is one year from the date of the initial incident. Call our offices now at (931) 361-4477 to schedule a consultation.

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