Proposed Bill Calls for Stricter Consequences for Drivers Who Violate Hands Free Law

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Lawmakers in Tennessee are considering adding more consequences to distracted driving.

Since 2019, a law has been in place in Tennessee that requires drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road, called the Hands Free law.

Now, state lawmakers want to bump up the consequences of the Hands Free Law with a new bill.

Currently, for the first violation of the Hands Free Law, you can receive a fine of up to $50. The fine is higher if the driver has multiple offenses or the violation takes place in a school zone or work zone.

The newly introduced bill will establish a number of points that may be charged to a person’s driving record after a second violation of the Hands Free Law.

This bill adds the following to the present law:

(1) A second or subsequent violation by a person who is younger than 18 years of age results in seven points being charged to the person’s driving record;

(2) If a person is 18 years of age or older, then a first or second violation of this law results in four points being charged to the person’s driving record; and

(3) If a person is 18 years of age or older, then a third or subsequent violation of this law results in five points being charged to the person’s driving record.

Drivers that accumulate 12 or more points on their driving record within any 12-month period are sent a notice of proposed suspension and given an opportunity to attend an administrative hearing. If they fail to request a hearing, their driving privileges are suspended for a period of six to 12 months, says tn.gov.

The bill was placed on Senate Transportation and Safety Committee calendar for 2/15/2023 and action was deferred to 2/22/2023.

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