Drivers and police prepare for "hands-free" law to take effect July 1 in Tennessee

WTVC

In less than a month, if you are driving in Tennessee , you cannot touch your phone.

Beginning July 1, it will be illegal to use your cell phones behind the wheel. Period.

No texting, calling, or switching songs on your phone, but technology isn't completely cut out.

Right now, drivers crossing Georgia into Tennessee follow fewer rules.

Georgia's "hands-free" law went into effect July 1 of last year.

Drivers cannot physically support their phone, in any way.

Now Tennessee is jumping on Georgia's wagon.

"Every day we're selling radios, people are wanting Bluetooth. They're wanting that because the laws are changing," said Mikel Fairfax, owner of High Caliber Auto Sound & Tinting in Hixson.

Drivers have the option to make their cars compliant with the new law.

Fairfax urges drivers to use hands-free, Bluetooth devices.

"You can navigate through text messages or make phone calls or navigation," said Fairfax.

Local law enforcement says hands free doesn't necessarily mean risk free.

The Chattanooga Police Department says they do plan to enforce the new law, but encourage drivers to turn off the phone while driving.

"You never have to mess with your telephone, it can stay in your pocket or in your purse," said Kenneth Jordan, a driver.

Millenials aren't the only people navigating new technology.

80-year-old Kenneth Jordan and his wife Gale often take road trips using their Bluetooth enabled radio system.

He's grateful for any laws, that discourage distracted driving.

"It will save lives. I guess that's what its all about, is trying to save lives," said Jordan.

Tennessee is the 19th state to ban cellphone use while driving.

Cell phone use may be banned soon, but here's what's not: earpieces, any device that can be worn on your wrist, like smart watches.

A first driver's offense will cost them $50.

Drivers will be fined up to $200.

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