Push to make Tennessee ban hand-held phones behind wheel heats up

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The push to make Tennessee hands-free and ban hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel is heating up and it looks like this will soon be illegal in active school zones.

Driving schools in Tennessee are already fighting distracted driving in Drivers Ed.

Right Lane Driving School teaches the basics but Sharon Winter and Donna Bayless also dive deeper into distracted driving.

They talk about how talking and texting causes 1.6 million deaths a year and it’s the same as driving with a .08 blood alcohol level, because since your reaction time is just not the same.

Winter and Bayless do a lot in their classes to drive the point home, including using emotional videos.

They both say though kids are not the only ones to blames, and young drivers often follow their parents’ example.

“They will pick up the phone as soon as they pull out of their driveway,” said Bayless. “They may even be using their phone when they’re going through the carpool line and that is what their kids see. We want to get that message across to parents that you are the person they look up to and they are going to follow your lead.”

They are in support of a bill that would ban everything involving cell phones that is not hands but Winter and Bayless want everyone to remember that being involved in a conversation behind the wheel, even if its hands free, is still dangerous.

“Where’s my mind? Am I really thinking about, ‘Is my husband getting on to me about the checking account?’ That’s where my mind is,” says Winter. “Or the office called and they want to know how to find something or they want me to explain something – that’s where my mind is. People don’t realize how distracted they are.”