Checking your phone while you’re driving may seem like it only takes a few seconds, but distracted driving is a real issue for drivers in Nashville, Gallatin, and Madison. Hands Free Tennessee has been put in place to cut back on distractions. To show you what’s legal under the law, Ron Hibbard Toyota explores what you need to know about Hands Free Tennessee. Contact us today with any questions!
What is Hands Free Tennessee?
Hands Free Tennessee is the name commonly given to Public Chapter No. 412 (PC0412). This new law went into effect in July 1st and prohibits using or holding a cellphone or mobile device while you’re behind the wheel of a car, truck, or SUV.
How Serious is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a serious problem in the Volunteer State. In 2018 alone, over 24,600 auto accidents were caused by drivers looking at their phones. That comes out to roughly 67 collisions a day. Recent studies have even shown that Tennessee has more fatalities from distracted driving than anywhere else in the county.
What’s Illegal Under the Law?
The goal of PC0412 is to live up to its nickname. Hands Free Tennessee makes the following actions illegal for anyone sitting in the driver’s seat of an automobile:
- Holding a cellphone or mobile device
- Reading, writing, or sending any text messages, notes, or emails
- Watching, recording, or broadcasting any videos
- Reaching for a mobile device or cellphone in a way that requires the driver to unbuckle your seatbelt or move from a seated driving position
You may still stream music, podcasts, and audiobooks from your phone, as well as take hands-free phone calls, but you may not hold or look at the mobile device while it’s connected via Bluetooth®.
What’s the Penalty for Using My Cellphone While Driving?
Violating the Hands Free law can result in three points on your license and a fine of up to $200. Operating a cellphone is a Class C misdemeanor and considered a moving traffic violation. The fine structure for violating PC0412 is as follows:
- $50 for a first-time offense
- $100 for a third-time offense or if using a mobile device caused an accident
- $200 if you’re caught using a cellphone in a school zone or construction zone
Can I Use a Cellphone During an Emergency?
An emergency is the one exception. If you’re driving and need to speak with police, EMS, or the fire department immediately, you are permitted to dial 911 and remain on the line until first responders arrive.
How Can Toyota Help with Distracted Driving?
There are lots of hands-free technologies available in Toyota vehicles. From compact cars like the Toyota Corolla to spacious SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, you’ll infotainment systems that can help you follow the law and stay safe.
In the center of the dashboard, you’ll find a touchscreen display that can sync up with your cellphone. It’s easy to stream music and make calls via Bluetooth®, as well as access your favorite smartphone apps through Apple CarPlay®. These systems are easy to use, too. Advanced Voice Recognition and Siri® Eyes Free let you control everything without taking your eyes off the road.
Learn More About Toyota Hands-Free Technology
Visit our team at Ron Hibbard Toyota to learn more about Hands Free Tennessee and how Toyota technology can help you get around Nashville, Gallatin, and Madison without ever having to pick up a cellphone or mobile device.