TENNESSEE, USA — Distracted driving has become an epidemic on the roadways. While texting behind the wheel is what most think of when "distracted driving" is mentioned, there are many others that can be deadly.
Talking on the phone, setting your GPS, drinking or eating, and applying makeup are others that can waste reaction time you may need to avoid a close call or deadly crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA said the month, "is a good time to regroup and take responsibility for the choices we make when we’re on the road."
- Need to send a text? Pull over and park in a safe area. Only then, is it safe to read or send a text.
- Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
- Do not scroll through apps, including social media, while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
In 2019, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security partnered with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to introduce “Hands Free Tennessee.”
A campaign focused on educating Tennesseans about the dangers of distracted driving and about the state's "Hands Free Law" which took effect in July 2019.
According to Public Chapter No. 412, it is illegal for a driver to:
(a) hold a cellphone or mobile device with any part of their body,
(b) write, send, or read any text-based communication,
(c) reach for a cellphone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt,
(d) watch a video or movie on a cellphone or mobile device, and
(e) record or broadcast video on a cellphone or mobile device.
In 2019, almost 24,000 accidents were caused by distracted driving in Tennessee. In 2020, that number was down to 9,404.
For more information, visit www.handsfreetn.com.