It often seems like we are living in a society that is so fast-paced that we do not have a moment to spare. This has resulted in many of us trying to multi-task – sometimes at inappropriate times. For example, there are way too many of us who try to send a text while waiting at an intersection when we should be paying attention to the road! The unfortunate result is that there are thousands of drivers killed or injured in auto accidents every single year due to distracted driving.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is the number one cause of auto accidents in the United States, and most of those accidents would have been preventable. Distracted driving covers any additional activity that takes your attention away from driving, with texting while driving being one of the most common and one of the most dangerous. According to the CDC, there are three different types of distracted driving:

  • Visual – when you take your eyes off the road
  • Manual – when you take your hands off the steering wheel
  • Cognitive – when your mind is taken off of your driving

Texting and driving causes such a disproportionate amount of auto accidents because it involves all three types of distracted driving simultaneously. Your hands and eyes are on the phone, and your mind is on whatever message you are sending. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that an average of 9.5 people are killed, and 1000 more are injured every day in auto accidents due to distracted driving. The majority of those involve texting or talking on the phone while driving. Some studies even suggest that texting and driving impairs a driver’s reaction time even more than driving drunk does!

The Law Relating to Texting & Driving

In Tennessee, there are multiple laws relating to the use of cellphones while driving. Due to the high number of auto accidents involving texting and driving, all drivers in Tennessee, with the exception of police, state officials, and EMTs, are forbidden from texting while driving. In addition to this, in July 2019, Tennessee also passed the hands-free law prohibiting drivers over the age of 18 years from holding, reaching for, or otherwise touching a phone while driving. This means they cannot text, read emails, or watch videos while the vehicle is moving. However, they can use hands-free devices for voice calls. Drivers under the age of 18 and those with an intermediary license cannot use hands-free and are prohibited from using a phone in any way while driving.


Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice LawBirth Injury LawTrucking Accident LawPersonal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at or call 865-637-3531.

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