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New State Law Restricts Cell Phone Use While Driving

Posted 06-14-19.

The State of Tennessee has passed a new law restricting the use of cell phones and other electronic devises while driving a motor vehicle. The law becomes effective July 1, 2019.

The Sevierville Police Department is issuing this media release, and will post messages on the SPD and City of Sevierville Facebook pages, as well as post tweets on the SPD Twitter page, in an effort to educate the motoring public regarding this new law. After the law becomes effective July 1, SPD officers will issue warnings or citations, as appropriate, in an effort to change driver behaviors and thereby improve their safety and the safety of all motorists.

 

The following is a summary of the law and does not include every provision or exception. To view the complete law, visit https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/acts/111/pub/pc0412.pdf.

Under the new law, a person will be prohibited from doing the following while operating a motor vehicle on any road or highway in this state:

• Physically holding or supporting, with any part of the person's body, a
wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.

A person 18 years of age or older may use an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice-based communication, and may use one button on a wireless telecommunications device to initiate or terminate a voice communication. A wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device may be mounted on the vehicle's windshield, dashboard, or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road and the driver's hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device with the motion of one swipe or tap of the driver's finger, and does not activate camera, video, or gaming features or functions for viewing, recording, amusement, or other non-navigational functions.

• Writing, sending, or reading any text-based communication, including, but not limited to, a text message, instant message, email, or internet data on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.

A person 18 years of age or older may use such devices to automatically convert a voice-based communication to be sent as a message in a written form, or for navigation of the motor vehicle through use of a device's global positioning system.

• Watching a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device, other than viewing data related to the navigation of the motor vehicle.

• Recording or broadcasting video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.

This provision does not apply to electronic devices used for the sole purpose of continuously recording or broadcasting video within or outside of the motor vehicle.