New 2018 Law To Ban Handheld Phone Calls In Active School Zones

Posted at 6:54 PM, Aug 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 20:32:34-04

State and local officials reminded drivers about a new law that will impact them when driving in an active school zone in Tennessee early next year.  

A bill was signed into law prohibiting cell phone use when traveling through an active school zone this year. 

Senator Jim Tracy sponsored the bill with Rep. John Holsclaw, and told NewsChannel 5 that it all boiled down to the safety of the students. 

The law, which takes effect on January 1st, makes it a Class C misdemeanor punishable only by up to a $50 fine if the driver knowingly was driving in an active school zone while on a handheld phone call.

It is already illegal to text and drive. 

Parents like Stephanie Howell said she excited to see a law protect her children. She has seen drivers swerve especially in school zones. 

"That's really good because people really need to pay more attention even with the law of no texting, I see all the time. I think it'll help improve everything," she said. 

With the start of the school year for students across Middle Tennessee, Rutherford County Student Resource Officer Daniel Thomas hopes drivers will break bad driving habits before the law goes into effect. 

"It's just unsafe, there are so many children in the school zones," Thomas said. "There is so much traffic and when you're distracted and driving especially in a school zone, it can just be a very dangerous thing."

Drivers were allowed phone calls in an active school zone as long as it is from a hand-free device like a Bluetooth.