Chattanooga Texting While Driving Accident Lawyer

According to the Hands Free Tennessee website, in 2020, there were over 20,400 wrecks in the state involving a distracted driver, or fifty-five collisions per day on average. Additionally, a recent study found that the state of Tennessee has the highest rate of distracted driving crashes in the United States—nearly five times the national average.

While new laws have been implemented that aim to decrease this growing problem across the state and keep Tennesseans safe while on the roadways, accidents are still happening at a rapid pace. If you were hurt because someone else chose to negligently use their phones, immediately contact a Chattanooga texting while driving accident lawyer. One of the experienced car accident attorneys at our firm could help you hold the careless driver accountable for their actions.

Tennessee State Law Regarding Cell Phone Use When Behind the Wheel

On July 1, 2019, the state of Tennessee implemented new laws regarding the usage of cell phones and other mobile devices while driving. This is often referred to as the “Hands Free Tennessee” initiative or “Hands Free” laws. According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-8-199 it is illegal for any motor vehicle driver to:

  • Hold a cell phone or mobile device with any part of their body
  • Write, send, or read any text-based communication
  • Reach for a cell phone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated position or properly restrained by seatbelt
  • Watch a video or movie on a cell phone or mobile device
  • Record a broadcast video on a cell phone or mobile device

State law is explicit in requiring drivers to put down their cell phones or mobile devices and focus on the road while operating a vehicle. When a person fails to abide by these rules, a Chattanooga texting while driving accident attorney could hold them liable in a civil suit.

Exceptions to the State’s “Hands Free” Laws

Any officers of the state, county, or municipality charged with the enforcement of the laws of the state are exempt to the “Hands Free” laws, this includes:

  • Federal law enforcement officers
  • Campus police
  • Public safety officers
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Paramedics
  • Firefighters when in the actual discharge of their official duties.
  • Emergency Management Agency officers when in the actual discharge of their official duties
  • Medical providers
  • Fire departments
  • Other emergency service personnel while driving a motor vehicle if it is a bona fide emergency
  • Employees or contractors of utility services providers acting within the scope of their employment

Additionally, any person who is lawfully stopped or parked in their motor vehicle is permitted to use their cell phone or other mobile device without restriction.

What Types of Devices Are Allowed While Driving in Chattanooga?

Drivers in Tennessee are permitted to use an earpiece, headphone device, car Bluetooth, or a device worn on the wrist to conduct voice-based communication while driving. A driver may use one button on a cell phone or mobile device to initiate or terminate a voice communication.

Voice-based communication may also be used to send a text message. If there is an emergency, a driver is permitted to use a cell phone to communicate with law enforcement agencies, medical providers, fire departments, or other emergency service agencies while driving a motor vehicle if the use is necessitated by bona fide emergency—including a natural or human occurrence that threatens human life, health, or property.

Penalties for Texting While Driving in Tennessee

Any violation of the “Hands Free” law is a Class C misdemeanor. A traffic citation based on a violation of the “Hands Free” law is a moving violation and fines include:

  • $50 for a first-time offense
  • $100 for a third-time offense or higher, or violation of law that resulted in a car crash
  • $200 for violations that occurred in a work zone or in a school zone while flashers are in operation

A proactive lawyer in Chattanooga could investigate the circumstances of a collision to determine if texting while driving was the cause. If so, a traffic citation could act as solid evidence in a case against a defendant driver.

Reach Out to a Chattanooga Texting While Driving Accident Attorney

With the new “Hands Free” laws and initiatives, the state of Tennessee is taking the issue of texting while driving extremely seriously. This is good news for people injured in a crash caused by a person illegally using their phone, as law enforcement will not hesitate to give traffic citations to those who violate the new laws—which can be used in a civil claim against a negligent driver to prove liability.

If you suffered losses in a wreck caused by a distracted driver, contact a Chattanooga texting while driving accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call now to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated legal professionals.

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