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New TN law makes it illegal to use a phone while driving in school zones

Keeping drivers focused while your children go to and from school - that's the goal of a new law going into effect January 1. (Image: WTVC)

Keeping drivers focused while your children go to and from school - that's the goal of a new law going into effect January 1.

On that day, it will be illegal to use your phone at all when driving through an active school zone.

"Somebody's gonna try to get away with it," said former crossing guard Noelle Bittle.

She used to be a crossing guard in Hamilton County.

"It'll be three years August 18," she said.

On that day, her life changed.

"I was hit by a truck," Bittle remembered. "I remember hearing the swoosh before impact."

Bittle says she was hit by a distracted driver in a school zone.

"I remember seeing him stop and get out of his truck and walk over to me but then I'm in and out," she said.

Even though Bittle doesn’t wear the reflective vest anymore, she hopes this new law will keep not only crossing guards, but also student -safe.

It takes effect January 1 and makes it a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $50 fine if a driver knowingly was driving in an active school zone while on a handheld phone call.

"I think it's a good law," said one parent.

Parent Ashley Green agrees.

"I don't think it's going to be hard to enforce if they stick with it," she said.

One of the sponsors of the bill says this law is already in effect in more than 10 states across the country.

Now, you can add Tennessee to that list.

"You don't have to get [your phone] while you're going through a school zone. It can wait. They'll call you back," Bittle said.

In the state of Tennessee, it is already illegal to text and drive.

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