New legislation aims to curb cellphone use in Tennessee schools zones

NASHVILLE, Tenn — As you drop off your child at school you may notice a lot of drivers talking on their cellphones behind the wheel, but new legislation will soon make that illegal in the state of Tennessee.

The law goes into effect January 1 and makes talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving through an active school zone a Class C misdemeanor that’s going to cost you up to $50.

The Tennessean spoke with the sponsors of the bill who said it all boiled down to student safety.

“You should be concentrating on reducing your speed limit and paying attention. You have children walking and a lot of traffic around,” Senator Jim Tracy said. “Eventually, as technology gets better, everything will be hands free.”

Most parents WTVF talked to Monday said they like that the state is taking action to protect their children.

“That’s really good because people really need to pay more attention even with the law of no texting, I see all the time. I think it’ll help improve everything,” one parent said.

“It’s just unsafe, there are so many children in the school zones,” Rutherford County Resource Officer Daniel Thomas added. “There is so much traffic and when you’re distracted and driving especially in a school zone, it can just be a very dangerous thing.”

There are some exceptions to the rule. Lawmakers said drivers over the age of 18 can use their phones if it’s equipped with hands-free technology.

It’s still illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use a phone while driving.

It’s is also already illegal to text and drive in the state of Tennessee.