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GPD Reminds Residents About Hands Free TN

Post Date:09/13/2019 10:30 AM

The Germantown Police Department takes a proactive approach to traffic safety throughout our city. The department considers a three pronged approach to address traffic safety issues: Education, Engineering and Enforcement. One area of increasing concern is the prevalence of inattentive and distracted driving. Drivers who direct their focus away from the operation of their motor vehicle, such as the use and manipulation of cell phones, create a safety risk for themselves and other roadway users. New legislation limiting cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle went into effect July 1, 2019. Regarding this new law specifically, the department has worked to educate citizens and take appropriate enforcement action in an effort to promote voluntary compliance and ultimately improve traffic safety in our community.

The state’s new “Hands Free Law,” known as Public Chapter No. 412, took effect on July 1, 2019. This new law requires drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road.
Public Chapter No. 412 makes it illegal for a driver to:
(a) hold a cellphone or mobile device with any part of their body,
(b) write, send, or read any text-based communication,
(c) reach for a cellphone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt,
(d) watch a video or movie on a cellphone or mobile device, and
(e) record or broadcast video on a cellphone or mobile device.
Violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor. A traffic citation based on this violation is considered a moving traffic violation.
Fines for violations of the law include:
• $50 = First-time offense
•$100 = Third-time offense or higher; violation results in a car crash
•$200 = Violation occurs in a work zone while workers are present; violation occurs in a marked school zone while flashers are in operation
•This includes 3 points on your license for each violation if convicted

--Frequently Asked Questions--
• Can I talk on my cellphone while driving?
A driver is permitted to use an earpiece, headphone device, or device worn on the wrist to conduct voice-based communication. The driver may use one (1) button on a cell phone or mobile device to initiate or terminate a voice communication. Voice-based communication may also be used to send a text message.
• Can I use my cellphone while driving in case of an emergency?
A driver is permitted to use a cellphone or other wireless telecommunications device to communicate with law enforcement agencies, medical providers, fire departments, or other emergency service agencies while driving a motor vehicle, if the use is necessitated by a bona fide emergency, including a natural or human occurrence that threatens human health, life, or property.
• Can I drive and stream music from my cell phone while using a hands-free device?
A driver is permitted to listen to streaming music that does not include videos on the screen of the cell phone or mobile device. However, the driver cannot touch the cellphone to activate or program music while driving.

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