MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on Tennessee’s new Hands-Free law.
It’s called the hands-free law. But a better name just might be the life-saving law. It is one of several new state measures that went into effect Monday, but none will have more impact than banning the use of handheld cellphones while driving.
Think about it. How many times have you spotted someone in traffic holding a cellphone in one hand and trying to navigate a busy street with the other hand? Maybe that someone was you.
Well now, it’s a misdemeanor crime in Tennessee. And I say, it’s about time. Distracted drivers accounted for nearly 25,000 crashes statewide last year, and more than a quarter of those occurred in Shelby County. In fact, there have been just over 56,000 distraction-related crashes in Shelby County over the past decade, more than twice the number reported in Davidson County, according to state figures.
The hands-free law requires drivers to use earpieces or Bluetooth technology through their vehicle when making or receiving calls. Violators will be fined up to $50 for the first two offenses, but the penalty could go as high as $200 if a driver is caught holding a phone in a road construction or school zone.
Without question, motorists with a cellphone in hand are a clear and present danger on our streets and freeways. Kudos to the legislature for trying to put a stop to it. And that’s my point of view.