Cell phone driving ban for school zones could get tougher next year

Texting while driving
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – We have long heard that drinking and driving don’t mix, but many Tennessee lawmakers say the same can be said for texting and driving, or any kind of cell phone use while behind the wheel.

That’s led to a bill banning cell phone use in active school zones that has already passed the state Senate and is expected to pass the House, but the passionate co-sponsors are already talking about a more widespread ban.

Doing something about people taking selfies, texting, and talking on cell phones while driving became very personal for East Tennessee lawmaker John Holsclaw.

“I have had a couple of nieces been in accidents with cell phones,” he told News 2 Tuesday from his legislative office.

John Holsclaw (Photo: WKRN)

It’s why he’s sponsoring an amended bill banning cell phone use in active school zones for those under 18 and requiring a hands-free phone device for adults in those same flashing school zones.

It has not been a easy argument to make to some of his colleagues.

“A lot of people consider it like a seat belt law, taking away my freedoms.” added the lawmaker. “I would rather save your life. It is that important to me.”

Both he and Senate sponsor Jim Tracy tried to get using cell phones while driving banned for anyone under 18 and requiring hands-free cell phone use for adults, but it was not going to happen this year.

“I would like to expand this later,” said Rep. Holsclaw, while referencing an old saying. “You kind of eat an elephant one bite at a time, so we will work this to progress it, but this is what we had to settle on this year to get it passed.”