Tennessee tops the list for cellphone distracted driving deaths nationwide.

You see distracted drivers almost every time you’re on the road.

“Texting a lot of times,” Ashland City resident Susan Farmer said. “It’s awful, it’s scary.”

Many times these distractions can be extremely dangerous.

“I actually saw an accident on the way here,” Nashville resident Anthony Chhann said. “Any type of distraction is just dangerous for any type of driver.”

To add to that, a new study shows Tennessee roads are the most deadly because of drivers distracted by cellphones.

“We looked at fatalities of drivers who were distracted by their cellphones,” Value Penguin research analyst Bailey Peterson said. “We looked at distracted driving deaths as reported by the National Highway and Safety Administration.”

Peterson says from 2015-2017 in Tennessee there were 166 fatalities caused by drivers distracted by their cellphones. Peterson says they found that’s five times greater than the national average, and 300% greater than neighboring states; Kentucky and North Carolina.

“It wasn’t just high it was more than twice what the next highest state, which was Delaware,” Peterson said.

Peterson says Tennessee laws could have something to do with it.

“The states with full bans on handheld use of cellphones we found had 45% lower rates than the states with partial bans or no bans at all,” Peterson said.

Right now in Tennessee it is illegal to text and drive, and to talk on a hand-held mobile phone while in a marked school zone. A proposed bill, HB0044, hopes to expand these laws to make it an offense to talk on a hand-held mobile phone on any road. If passed this bill will take effect on January 1, 2020.  

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Reporter

Brittany Weiner joined the News4 team as a reporter in July 2018.

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