NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A bill banning most cell phone use while driving took could soon be one of Tennessee’s new rules of the road. The measure unanimously passed the House Transportation Committee Tuesday with little opposition seen in the legislative path ahead.
“The way I look at it, if this bill saves lives, it’s worth it,” said House sponsor Rep. John Holsclaw (R-Elizabethton). “It’s pretty simple.”
A few years back, Rep. Holsclaw successfully passed a cell phone use ban for drivers in school zones. Now he wants to ban all handheld cellphone usage on every road in the state.
“Tennessee — sad to say — ranks No. 1 in […] deaths due to distracted driving,” said Holsclaw, citing an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
At Tuesday’s hearing for the bill, several lawmakers waved their phones as some raised questions about being pulled over by law enforcement.
“If I got this phone in my hand, I would be in violation–is that not correct?” asked Rep. Dale Carr of Sevierville.
He got a yes from Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Dereck Stewart.
The bill allows for hands-free devices to be used while driving.
Violators would have to pay a $50-dollar fine if cited, but not right away. First-time offenders would be sent to driving school.
The bill is expected to be heard the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday.