Tennessee Cell Phone-Involved Fatalities Ten Times National Average

(Memphis) The National Safety Council data shows Tennessee’s percentage of cellphone-involved fatalities is ten times the national average.

The data is based on the latest available, which is from 2011. The national average has held steady, showing only 1.2 percent of all fatalities involve drivers using cell phones.

In Tennessee, that percentage was 7.4 in 2010, and 10.6 in 2011.

In Tennessee, school bus drivers and novice drivers are banned from holding a phone while driving, while all drivers are banned from texting and driving.

Still, people in Memphis said they hardly see anyone cited.

“If they heard more stories of oh, I got a ticket today because I was texting, then maybe more people would stop doing it,” said Shon Barbee.

Barbee said that’s why she uses a Bluetooth.

“It’s just so much easier to answer a call if you needed to. Just press the button without looking at your hand,” she said.

Clairene Tibbs said her car was just hit by someone who was on his phone.

“They kept going,” Tibbs said.

The National Safety Council also stated that cell phone involvement in accidents is often under-reported.

Arkansas has similar laws regarding cell phone use behind the wheel. But teen drivers are also banned from holding a phone behind the wheel.

In Mississippi, only school bus drivers are banned from holding cell phones and texting. Those with learner or provisional licenses are also banned from texting.

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