Report Says More People Than Ever Are Driving Distracted - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Report Says More People Than Ever Are Driving Distracted

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by Jason Lamb

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It's something we've heard for years, but a new report from State Farm suggests that Americans aren't getting the message: More people than ever are texting while driving, and even surfing the web while driving.

Tennessee has spent lots of money to try and bring the numbers down, but Tennessee's own texting while driving law has actually limited the amount of money the state gets to combat the problem.

Tennessee has a relatively weak texting while driving law compared to other states -- the law only applies when a car is in motion, and it assesses only a $50 fine for each violation.

Seven states nationwide split federal money this year aimed at cutting down on texting while driving, but because Tennessee's law isn't as strict as other states, the volunteer state didn't get a share.

"We could have put dollars into really educating and making people aware of the consequences of distracted driving," said Megan Buell with the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

Still, Buell said the agency works hard to reduce distracted driving with the money it does receive.

Rep Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) proposed the original texting while driving law.  He said he plans to introduce new legislation next year to increase the fine to $250, and make it a primary offense, meaning a police officer could ticket someone for violation of the texting while driving law alone, without being pulled over for another violation first.

Email: jlamb@newschannel5.com
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