Davidson County, Rutherford County and other area schools are already back in session, Williamson County schools start this Friday and a number of private schools start next week. Hopefully, everyone has done their summer reading and is ready. Drivers also need to be ready especially since there have been some changes in Tennessee law. Take our true or false quiz below to find out if you are an A+ driver.
- Cellphone Use
Tennessee law permits a driver to hold a cellphone as long as they are not texting.
This one is definitely FALSE. Effective July 1, 2019, it is now illegal to have a phone in your hand for any reason while driving a motor vehicle. The reason for the change is to make it easier for law enforcement to crack down on distracted drivers. Prior to the new law, many police officers reported pulling over drivers who claimed they were talking on the phone and not texting. The new law is a bright line rule. If you are holding the phone, you are getting a ticket. And you can rest assured that your insurance rates are going to go up too. Drivers can use blue-tooth, speaker phone or a dash-mounted device.
In a school zone, a driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has fully crossed the road.
This is TRUE. In a non-school zone cross walk, a driver may proceed once the pedestrian has crossed their lane of travel. But, in a school zone, a driver must wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the street not just the driver’s lane of travel. The law is designed to give children an added layer of protection as they cross the street.
A bicyclist and a car are at a 4-way stop and the bicyclist arrived first. The car still has the right of way because it is faster than the bike.
This is FALSE. Motorists must share the road with bicyclists and are required to treat them the same as another motor vehicle. So while the bicyclist might politely waive the motorist to go first because it is faster, the bicyclist is not required to do so. And if the bicyclist does go first, the motorist must leave a minimum of 3 feet between the car and bike during the entire passing maneuver.
- School Buses
Unless it is a divided highway, drivers traveling in both directions must stop when a school bus activates its signals.
This is TRUE. Whether it is a 2 lane or 4 lane road, all drivers must stop when a school bus activates its signals. The only exception is when there is a divided highway. On a divided highway, only the cars behind the bus are required to stop.
- School Zones
Fines for moving violations are increased if they occur in a school zone.
This is TRUE. For instance, the penalty for holding a cellphone while driving in a school zone quadruples. So, please take those reduced speed limits seriously. Do not use your phone. And pay particularly close attention to your driving so that students arrive safely and you do not have to live with a horrible mistake that causes injury or death.
So how did you do? Hopefully, you knew the answers to all these situations. If you did not, it is time to brush up on your driving knowledge. You can start by remembering our constant admonitions to drivers:
- Slow down;
- Don’t drive distracted;
- Don’t drive under the influence;
- Keep your vehicle in good repair.
From the award-winning lawyers at The Law Offices of John Day, we wish everyone a happy and healthy school year. And if you have questions about an accident, give us a call at one of the numbers below for a free-consultation.