Williamson and surrounding county officers and the Tennessee Highway Patrol have issued just under 50 citations since a new state law banned hand-held cellphone use this summer.
Data came from the THP and law enforcement agencies in Middle Tennessee counties.
The hands-free driving law went into effect July 1. Those driving can’t touch a cellphone while driving, but the law does allow for ear pieces, headphone devices or a device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice-based communication. Drivers can also use dashboard mounts.
During the first month of the law, officers in Franklin have given just three citations.
“In an effort to ensure the public is aware of the new hands-free law, Franklin police officers have been issuing verbal warnings to drivers,” FPD public information officer Ryan Schuman said. “Next week, Franklin and Williamson County schools will be opening, and officers will be especially vigilant at watching for distracted drivers and speeding through school zones.”
Williamson County Sheriff’s Office deputies issued none. Brentwood police officers didn’t issue any citations in July either, said Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh, opting for verbal warnings instead.
“We asked our officers to help educate violators for the first month of the new law,” Walsh said.
In Nolensville, police officers issued 15 citations in July, Chief Roddy Parker said.
It also became illegal in Tennessee to drive in an active school zone while talking on a hand-held cellphone at the start of 2018. In that year, police issued 126 citations to drivers using their phones in a school zone.
WCS launched a safe driving task force in 2017 after several students died in car crashes. The task force requires students and their parents to complete a safe driving agreement before obtaining school parking permits.
If you are issued a hands-free citation, the penalty is as follows:
First Offense: $50 fine
Third or more offense: $100 fine
Involved in a crash: $100
Active school zone/work zone: $200
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