Local 24 News political analyst & commentator Otis Sanford on enforcing the hands-free law in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the hands-free law in Tennessee.

I don’t usually have many positive things to say about the Tennessee legislature. Mostly because lawmakers spend the majority of their time on regressive bills that benefit their contributors more than ordinary Tennesseans. But earlier this year, lawmakers passed a bill that I wholeheartedly agree with.

It’s called the Hands-Free law that went into effect July 1st. Essentially, it bans motorists from handling cell phones while driving. Violators face fines starting at $50.

But in Memphis, our police and city council can’t seem to figure out if the law should be enforced locally. So far, Memphis police have not written any tickets to drivers caught with their cellphones in hand. And the council seems at a loss about whether to initiate a city ordinance that would settle the issue.

I tend to side with council attorney Allan Wade who says police absolutely have the power to write tickets based on the new law. And if people want to challenge it, bring it on. That sounds like a plan.

Here’s the deal. Driving while holding a cellphone is dangerous. And state lawmakers were correct to ban it. Since the law went into effect, Metro Nashville police have written tickets. So why not Memphis police?

As the city election approaches, this should be an easy call for the council. Get to work on an ordinance. And show Memphians you care about our safety. And that’s my point of view.

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