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Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Tennessee

cell phone tennessee

The most widespread form of distracted driving in the United State today is using a cell phone while driving down the road. In 2010, there were 3,092 people killed in car accidents that involved a distracted driver. According to the National Safety Council, one out of every four motor vehicle accidents are caused by people sending text messages, or talking on their cell phones.

In Tennessee drivers with a learner’s permit or an intermediate driver’s license are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving a vehicle.

Tennessee has also banned texting while driving for people of all ages. This includes reading or typing a text message. Yet, there are a few exceptions to the texting law, which include people performing their official duties.

Exceptions to texting while driving

  • Officers of the State
  • Campus police officers
  • Emergency medical technicians

Texting and driving is considered a primary law in Tennessee. This means a law enforcement officer can pull a driver over for texting, even if they have not committed any other moving violation.


  • Texting while driving is $50 plus court costs, the latter of which are not to go over $10
  • Drivers with a learner’s permit or an intermediate driver’s license may be fined up to $100
  • Novice drivers may be ineligible to apply for an intermediate or unrestricted driver’s license for another 90 days

It is illegal for drivers of all ages to text and drive while operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee. Furthermore, novice drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving. It is a good idea to put your cell phone away while going down the road to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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