In Tennessee and across the country, law enforcement groups have designated the month of April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will focus on enforcing the state's distracted driving laws, in an attempt to reduce the number of people killed in distracted driving collisions each year.
In an effort to enforce Tennessee's distracted driving laws, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has implemented a new safety campaign. The "Drive to Zero" campaign is focused on eventually reducing the number of traffic fatalities in the state to zero. In 2014, law enforcement officers hope to lower the number of fatalities caused by traffic collisions by 15 percent.
Consequently, the highway patrol has started using SUVs and large trucks to identify motorists who are driving while distracted in Tennessee. These larger vehicles will give officers a better vantage point to determine whether a motorist is violating one of the state's distracted driving laws.
In Tennessee alone, distracted drivers caused 18,761 motor vehicle accidents in 2013, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Those collisions resulted in 54 fatalities in the state that year.
Across the country, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,328 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2012, while another 421,000 people suffered injuries in such collisions.
Tennessee's distracted driving laws
In Tennessee, motorists are prohibited from engaging in certain behaviors that are considered particularly distracting.
For instance, all drivers in the state are banned from texting while behind the wheel. While this law has been difficult to enforce in the past, the new larger police vehicles should enable officers to identify those who are texting while driving.
In addition, novice drivers and bus drivers in Tennessee are not allowed to use a cellphone when driving, even if the phone has hands-free technology. While many people believe hands-free communication is safer than using a handheld cellphone while on the road, the National Safety Council disagrees. In response, it has focused its attention on promoting its "Hands-free is not risk-free" campaign during the month of April. The National Safety Council hopes to impress upon motorists that multitasking while driving is not safe.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you should consider your options to recover damages following the collision. In such cases, seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are safeguarded.