Authorities to watch for distracted drivers Friday

Authorities to watch for distracted drivers Friday (Image 1)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Friday, April 30, is national “No Phone Zone Day.”

Authorities across the state and nation will keep a close eye out for drivers using cell phones unsafely behind the wheel.

Tennessee's Governor's Highway Safety Office along with the National Governor's Highway Safety Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Oprah Winfrey are holding a national day of awareness to end distract driving.

This year is the first of what will be an annual “No Phone Zone Day” campaign.

Lt. Ken Walburn with the Metro Police Department told News 2 texting while driving is similar to driving under the influence.

“One of the leading causes of our crashes is failure to maintain lane,” Lt. Walburn said.  “It's hard to keep stats on distracted driving.  It's just hard to figure out after the crash has occurred but taking your eyes off the road and paying attention to texting is the equivalent of having a .08 blood alcohol level which is legally drunk in the state of Tennessee.”

Tennessee does allow drivers to talk on handheld phones, except for bus drivers.

State lawmakers banned texting while driving in 2009.

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