Local News

Story published: 06-25-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Driving while distracted by electronics can be fatal

By Paula Walter

By definition, charges relating to distracted driving traffic accidents can stem from inattention, texting while driving, the use of a cell phone, eating, drinking and even using a navigation system, among other activities. In the State of Tennessee, it is illegal for all drivers to text while their vehicle is in motion. While the use of cell phones is permitted in Tennessee, it is against the law for bus drivers and beginner drivers to use a cell phone, regardless if it is a handheld or a hands-free device. According to the National Safety Council, there were 71 fatal crashes in 2010 involving the use of cell phones in Tennessee, and that number rose to 93 the following year. Approximately 10.6 percent of vehicle accidents in Tennessee in which a fatality occurred in 2011 involved a driver operating a cell phone. Statistics show that the drivers who engage in the use of cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into serious accidents, while texting while driving creates a crash risk of 23 times more than a non-texting related accident. In Johnson County alone, Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that since 2004, there have been 162 distracted driver crashes. The highest number of related accidents was 32 in 2011.

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