Proposed bill would further limit cellphone use in cars - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Proposed bill would further limit cellphone use in cars

Posted: Updated:

Our news partners at WBIR are reporting some Tennessee lawmakers are hoping to further restrict cellphone use while driving. A bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives would make it illegal to call someone or answer your phone while in the car.

Under the proposal, drivers would still be able to talk with hands-free devices.

The bill's sponsors say drivers who use their phones are two to three times more likely to crash.

It's a change Tennessee Regional Safety Council Executive Director Andrew Williams said is a step in the right direction.

"I think it's the first step, tying to address the issue that's happening on our highways today. Try to get people's attention, let them know how serious this issue actually is," said Williams.

Some local drivers in East Tennessee admit they use their cellphones to make calls while driving.

"I try not to but it has happened occasionally, yes," said Marie Ensley from Knoxville.

She says she would support the bill, though.

"I think it probably is appropriate. I have a young daughter who is going to be driving here in awhile, and I need to set a good example for her," said Ensley.

Tom Vonberg says he only uses a blue tooth if he does answer a call.

"I think it is unsafe to be concentrating on what you're doing, talking or dialing, when you are setting up like that. It's essentially the same as texting," said Vonberg.

If passed, anyone who violates the law would get a warning first, but repeat offenders could face up to $500 in fines.

The bill also addresses emergency calls.

"This bill makes the necessary use of the mobile telephone in a bona fide emergency an affirmative defense, which must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence," according to the Tennessee General Assembly's website.

Several other states have passed similar legislation. The Tennessee bill is still in committee.

Powered by Frankly