Helpful Information

What Is Tennessee's Hands-Free Law?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jun 15, 2021

According to data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the state saw more than 20,000 distracted driving accidents in 2020 alone. In order to address the high number of distracted driving crashes in the state, Tennessee's hands-free driving law, known as Tennessee Public Chapter No. 412, came into effect in 2019. According to the law, drivers are no longer permitted to operate or hold any hand-held electronic devices, including navigational devices, while their car is in motion.

If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a texting or otherwise distracted driver, you could be entitled to compensation. Labrum Law experienced car accident attorneys can help. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to determine whether you have a case: (615) 338-9500.

Distracted Driving Accidents

Driving without due care and attention can cost lives. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 2,841 persons died due to distracted driving in the U.S. in 2018. Common accidents caused by distracted drivers can include but are not limited to:

  • Head-on collisions
  • T-bone accidents and other side-impact crashes
  • Rear-end accidents

Distracted driving crashes can cause serious injuries and fatalities, especially when they happen at high speed. A momentary glance at a phone or navigation system can reduce the reaction time required for maneuvers that could avoid accidents. A split second can be all it takes to change lives forever.

Details of the Tennessee Hands-Free Driving Law

According to Tennessee Public Chapter No. 412, a driver must not:

  1. Hold an electronic device such as a cellphone with any part of their body
  2. Read, write, or send any emails, texts, or other text-based messages
  3. Reach for a phone or other electronic device if it means the driver cannot remain seated or restrained by their seat belt
  4. Watch movies or videos on a mobile electronic device
  5. Record or broadcast a video on a mobile electronic device

Moreover, drivers are only allowed to activate features or functions of a mobile electronic device requiring the use of their hand while operating a vehicle if:

  1. The electronic device is mounted on the car's windshield, center console, or dashboard in a way that does not impede the driver's view
  2. A driver's hand can activate the electronic device with one swipe or tap, without activating any functions such as the camera, gaming, video, or other entertainment activities unrelated to navigation purposes

Violations of the Tennessee hands-free driving law can incur misdemeanor charges and fines. It is important to note that simply holding an electronic device, such as a cellphone, while driving is classified as a moving violation. A driver can be pulled over and receive a ticket if they are merely holding a cellphone while driving.

Proving Negligence of a Distracted Driver

If another person caused your accident, injuries, and financial losses due to cell phone use while driving, you could recover compensation. However, while it may seem clear to you that another driver broke Tennessee's hands-free driving law, potentially rendering them negligent, you will have to provide evidence in order to receive the compensation you deserve.

Proving cell phone use while driving can be legally complex and challenging. However, a car accident attorney from Labrum Law can help you gather the crucial evidence proving another's negligence, such as:

  • Witness statements
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Police accident reports
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Medical records proving your injuries

Cell Phone Records Can Be Vital Evidence for Your Claim

If a distracted driver caused an accident with injuries or fatalities, a district attorney or your car accident lawyer can ask for the driver's cell phone records to determine whether they used their phone at the time of the crash. Cell phone evidence can be crucial for assessing liability, particularly in heavily disputed cases.

Victims of distracted drivers may have to fight for an adequate settlement, especially in contested accidents. However, an experienced car attorney from Labrum Law can protect your rights and build your case against a negligent driver or another at-fault party.

Types of Compensation You Could Receive

There is no average settlement for a distracted driving accident. However, if another driver violated the hands-free driving law in Tennessee, causing your accident and injuries, you could potentially pursue various types of compensation for your injuries and losses. Depending on the extent of your injuries and losses, you could seek the following damages and others:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Car damage
  • Loss of income
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical anguish
  • Disability

If you are hoping to recover a settlement, you will need to act in a timely manner. Individuals generally only have one short year after their injury to file a lawsuit in Tennessee. Delaying legal action can cost you the right to legal recourse and compensation. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible will help you understand your legal rights and understand all of your legal options. 

How a Nashville Car Accident Attorney from Labrum Law Can Help

Unfortunately, victims of drivers who used a cellphone while driving can struggle to recover an adequate settlement. Although the law is on your side, particularly with the relatively recent Tennessee hands-free driving law, proving distracted driving can still be challenging.

However, if you suffered the emotional, physical, and financial consequences of someone else's negligence, you should not shoulder the burden as a result of their actions. The seasoned and compassionate car accident lawyers at Labrum Law are here for you. We can be your advocates and fight for justice and compensation on your behalf. Our attorneys have the track record and resources needed to analyze your accident and gather the necessary evidence proving negligence. Other ways in which our legal team can help include:

  • Answering all of your legal questions and providing all of your legal options
  • Legal counsel and guidance
  • Calculating your damages and losses
  • Dealing with the insurance company and defendant
  • Assessing and proving your damages
  • Taking your case all the way to trial if necessary

Most importantly, having a dedicated car accident attorney fight for your rights can give you peace of mind and reassurance during a stressful and upsetting time. Let us handle the legal details while you are free to recover and move on with your life.

Call Labrum Law now for a complimentary case evaluation: (615) 338-9500.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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