It's over: Hands-free grace period ends, police now issuing tickets for violations
The grace period offered by the Chattanooga Police Department for the hands-free law is now over.
The grace period began when the law took effect on July 1 and ended on July 31.
The law makes it illegal to hold your phone while driving.
Channel 3 went on another ride along now that CPD will begin issuing citations for breaking the law.
"The reason I stopped you is you have your phone in your hand and you're staring at it while you're driving," Officer Chris Mullinex told one driver during a traffic stop.
The grace period for the hands-free law is out the window.
"The reason I stopped you is you were using your phone while you were driving," said Officer Mullinex to another driver.
"Oh I was just using my GPS," the driver replied.
"Yeah you can't use your phone at all while driving," Mullinex replied.
Even just holding your phone for GPS purposes goes against the new law.
"Now it's hands free. You cannot hold your phone," Mullinex told Channel 3.
The department used the month of July to issue warnings and educate drivers, letting them know they will be ticketed in August.
"You are getting a ticket for using your phone in a school zone. We are trying to get people to stop using their phones, especially somewhere like a school zone," Officer Mullinex told a driver after pulling them over.
He says distracted driving is a problem in Chattanooga.
"I'm not out here to fine a bunch of people for driving. We just want people to not crash their car," said Mullinex.
Mullinex says the goal of enforcing this law is to provide Chattanooga with safer roads.
"I observed the defendant using his phone for about a mile. The defendant was issued a citation for violating the hands-free law using his phone to speak on while driving," Mullinex noted.
With the law in full throttle, Officer Mullinex suggests investing in some alternatives to save money in the long run.
"You need to have a Bluetooth or a cell phone holder. You can't essentially touch your phone," said Mullinex.
If you have any questions regarding the hands-free law, call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525.