New cell phone driving law goes into effect July 1 in Tennessee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's already against the law in Tennessee to text and drive, and soon it will be against the law to even hold a cell phone when you're behind the wheel.

Max Maxwell is the owner of Maxwell Motorsports and Driving School in east Memphis. He says before each class he collects everyone's cell phone.

"Cell phones are just a major distraction. We take their cell phones away from them, and they can't get them back until the end of the day. They can't come in at lunch time and use them."

Maxwell says one of the most important rules of the road involves the dangers of distracted driving while using cell phones.

"It just seems to be attached to people. If it rings, they've gotta look at it. Period."

It's already against the law to text and drive in Tennessee. Now students here are learning about a new law that's going into effect July 1, 2019 that prohibits drivers from even holding a cell phone when their vehicle is moving.

"To be able to talk in a moving car, you have to have be hands free or have a Bluetooth. You can use the speaker to talk, but you can't go down the road looking at it," Maxwell said.

From what he has been told, officers will have to physically witness a driver holding a cell phone before they can make a stop.

A driver can be fined $100, $200 if a crash is involved. One of the students we talked with says the new law is needed. But some believe it's a habit that will be hard to break.

There are some exceptions to the law, like using the phone for navigation while it's in a cup holder or attached to the vehicle's dashboard.

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