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Proposed law could limit distracted driving car accidents

Lawmakers in Tennessee are planning to combat vehicle fatalities through new legislation that would severely limit cellphone use in cars in the state. A proposed bill from a state senator is designed to decrease the number of car accidents in the state by requiring hands-free cellphone operations behind the wheel. Tennessee residents could see a rate decrease of as many as 20,000 vehicle accidents annually if the new law is implemented.

In addition to a law prohibiting the use of phones without a hands-free setup, proposed state legislation would also increase the severity of penalties associated with distracted driving crashes. Criminal penalties for death or injury would be strengthened, providing what legislators hope will be a strong deterrent to this dangerous behavior. The legislative expansion would also carry hefty sanctions and more strict regulations for minors who operate a vehicle while using a mobile device. A new Tennessee cellphone law could provide a significant measure of safety for those behind the wheel, along with pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, according to experts.

Victims who have suffered injury or lost a loved one because of a driver who was text messaging deserve to be legally satisfied through both civil and criminal courts. In addition to the weighty new sanctions that could await at-fault drivers in criminal court, civil measures could provide additional resources for those who have been hurt in a wreck. Those victims may be able to recover damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses and a variety of other costs associated with their crash event.

All Tennessee drivers should be responsible with cellphone use behind the wheel. However, sometimes legislating this responsible behavior is necessary. A strengthened criminal system could have a positive impact on civil cases associated with distracted driving.

Source: The Tennessean, "Tennessee bill would outlaw phone use while driving," Jake Lowary, March 08, 2017

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