§ 55-8-199. Use of hand-held mobile telephone or personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message prohibited while driving.
(a) For the purpose of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Mobile telephone” means a cellular, analog, wireless or digital device that provides for voice communication and for data communication other than by voice; and
(2) “Personal digital assistant” means a wireless electronic communication device that provides for data communication other than by voice.
(b) No person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message; provided, that a driver does not transmit or read a written message for the purpose of this subsection (b) if the driver reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a hand-held mobile telephone or a personal digital assistant for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.
(c) This section shall only apply to a person driving a motor vehicle that is in motion at the time a written message from a mobile telephone or hand-held personal digital assistant is transmitted or read by the person.
(1) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor, subject only to imposition of a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) and court costs not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00), including, but not limited to, any statutory fees of officers. No state or local litigation taxes shall be applicable to a case prosecuted under this section.
(2) In addition to any fine imposed pursuant to subdivision (d)(1), a person who violates this section as a first offense shall be required to attend and complete a driver education course pursuant to § 55-10-301.
(e) This section shall not apply to the following persons:
(1) Officers of the state or of any county, city or town charged with the enforcement of the laws of the state, when in the actual discharge of their official duties;
(2) Campus police officers and public safety officers, as defined by § 49-7-118, when in the actual discharge of their official duties;
(3) Emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technician-paramedics and firefighters, both volunteer and career, when in the actual discharge of their official duties; and
(4) Emergency management agency officers of the state or of any county, city or town, when in the actual discharge of their official duties.
(f) A traffic citation that is based solely upon a violation of this section shall be considered a moving traffic violation.
(g) The department of transportation is directed to utilize the department’s permanent electronic overhead informational displays located throughout this state to provide periodic messages to the motoring public as to the provisions of this section.
HISTORY: Acts 2009, ch. 201, §§ 1, 2; 2016, ch. 1077, §§ 1, 2.
§55-8-192. Use of portable electronic device by school bus drivers.
(a) No driver shall operate a school bus as defined by § 55-8-101 anywhere in this state while using a portable electronic device:
(1) While the vehicle is in motion and while the vehicle is transporting one (1) or more children; or
(2) When the vehicle is stopped for the purposes of loading or unloading one (1) or more children from the vehicle.
(b) As used in this section, “portable electronic device” means any:
(1) Mobile, cellular, analog, wireless, or digital telephone;
(2) Personal digital assistant;
(3) Hand-held device with mobile data access;
(4) Laptop computer;
(6) Broadband personal communication device;
(7) Two-way messaging device;
(8) Electronic game;
(10) Portable computing device;
(11) Global positioning system, if the driver is using at least one (1) hand to hold the device or to enter data into the device while the school bus is in motion; or
(12) Electronic device used to input, write, send, receive, read, or view text or media for present or future communication.
(c) This section shall not apply to:
(1) Two-way radio communications, or any device used in a similar manner as two-way radio communications, made to and from a central dispatch, school transportation department, or its equivalent; or
(2) The use of a device capable of voice communication to report an emergency to the 911 system, a law enforcement agency, fire department, or emergency medical provider.
(d) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum period of confinement of not less than thirty (30) days; a minimum fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000); and the court shall order that a person convicted of violating this section is permanently prohibited from operating a school bus as defined by § 55-8-101 in the state of Tennessee.
HISTORY: Acts 2003, ch. 180, § 1; 2016, ch. 1036, § 1.