NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, it is now illegal for drivers in Tennessee to send or receive text messages while driving.
The measure, sponsored by Republicans Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol and Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, exempts certain officials, such as officers of the state, campus police officers and emergency medical technicians, when performing their duties.
The action is considered a nonmoving traffic violation and violators will be fined $50.
No points can be added to a person's driver's license.
Opponents have argued that law enforcement may not be able to tell whether drivers are texting or dialing and that texting is already covered under the state's distracted driving law.
Tennessee is the tenth state to outlaw texting while driving.
Alaska, California, Utah, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia, New York and Connecticut already have bans in place or that will take effect this year.
- May 15, 2009: Tenn. bans texting while driving
- April 30, 2009: Proposal to ban texting while driving heads to governor
- April 27, 2009: Texting while driving could soon be illegal
- April 23, 2009: Senate passes bill to ban texting while driving
- March 10, 2009: Lawmakers consider texting while driving ban
- May 21, 2008: Study: Tennesseans text while driving
- March 25, 2008: Should drivers be banned from texting?