THP issues nearly 150 Hands Free TN citations over Labor Day Weekend

THP tickets hands-free violators

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Over Labor Day weekend, Tennessee Highway Patrol was cracking down on drivers using their phones.

Data shows 148 citations were issued statewide. Wilson and Hardeman counties each had 11 citations issued. Nine citations were issued in Tipton County. Eight citations in Cheatham and Maury counties. Seven citations were issued here in Shelby County.

"Things can happen and it's something that the people who are upset about this something has not happened to them yet and that's what we're trying to prevent,” said Sgt. Chris Richardson with THP.

THP says the grace period is over -- people should be aware of the Hands Free TN Law.

The law makes it illegal for any person behind the wheel to touch a mobile device while driving.

The first time you’re caught it’s a $50 fine, but fines could be four times that if you’re caught using your phone areas like a work or school zone.

“We've worked enough crashes. We've had to notify enough people that someone they love is not coming home anymore,” said Richardson.

Since the new law went into effect July 1, local stores like iReaper in Bartlett, have seen an uptick in sales.

"Onthe-dash holders for the phones or something that fits in the vent or the cup holder,” said Thomas Bledsoe with iReaper.

Certain accessories make it more convenient for your phone to be visible but not necessarily in your hands.

"You don’t have to look down, pick it up, or wait for a red light, or pull over, or things like that. So, I think it’s safe and convenient,” said Bledsoe.

Memphis police officers are still not able to issue citations because the department says a city ordinance that mirrors state law needs to be passed by council. WMC was told council is expected to review a draft of the city ordinance at their next meeting.

For more information on the Hands Free TN Law, click here.

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