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Should distracted driving consequences be stricter in Tennessee?

Every year there are thousands of people injured in accidents due to distracted driving. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, there is someone injured because of a cellphone distraction every 24 seconds.

In Tennessee, all drivers are banned from texting while driving and novice drivers are banned from using a cellphone at all. However, as is shown time and time again by accidents in the state, not everyone is taking distracted driving risks seriously and listening to the laws.

Texting while driving and talking on a cellphone are two of the more common distractions drivers engage in. However, these are certainly not the only two as some drivers put on makeup, eat food and check emails. Others have even been seen shaving and changing clothes while driving.

All of these behaviors while operating a motor vehicle weighing several thousand pounds at high speeds obviously put everyone in danger. But just what can be done?

Studies show that while drunk driving gets a lot of attention, distracted driving is actually more dangerous. This is where safety advocates want to see the consequences of distracted driving rise to those of drunk driving.

For example, a drunk driver does not get a second chance. Rather, there are very real and serious consequences for the first driving under the influence conviction. The hope is these consequences will deter a driver from drunk driving again. But, with texting while driving, even though it is extremely dangerous and jeopardizes the safety of others, the consequences are nowhere near as severe. A driver texting will most likely not go to jail and the fine will be rather inexpensive when compared to those given to drunk drivers.

But what do you think? Should texting laws be stricter here in Tennessee? Would more severe consequences deter distracted driving? What else can be done to get drivers to pay attention?

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