The Tennessee House of Representatives has passed legislation that would ban motorists from using hand-held cellphones while driving.
Lawmakers voted 53-38 Wednesday after lengthy debate. Supporters called it a means to enhance safety; detractors warned of government overreach.
The measure now heads to the state Senate; if it passes, the bill will make its way to Governor Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.
If approved, those caught in violation of the law – which would go into effect in 2020 – would face a $100 fine. That amount could increase to $200 if an accident results from the violation.
The National Conference of State Legislators reports 16 states and the District of Columbia already prohibit drivers from using hand-held devices, including Georgia, which passed a similar law last year.
At present, use of hand-held cellphones is banned only in school zones in Tennessee.