Texting while driving could soon be illegal - WKRN News 2

Texting while driving could soon be illegal

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Texting while driving could soon be illegal in Tennessee.

The State House on Monday night passed a bill that would outlaw sending or receiving a text message while behind the wheel.

The Senate passed a version of the bill last week.

After a few minor differences between the House and Senate versions are resolved, the measure will go before Governor Phil Bredesen for his consideration.

Despite being one of the biggest distractions while driving, so many people do it and likely don't realize how often it takes their eyes off the road.

News 2 conducted an experiment with Nashville resident Aaron Powell. 

Powell was sent a series of text messages which he began answering while driving around in an empty parking lot.

It didn't take long to see how distracting the texting became for Powell and the amount of times he took his eyes off the road to answer the question, "Where are you eating tonight?"

In less than 30 seconds, Powell looked down at his cell phone screen 15 times just to type a one word answer: "Chili's."

The experiment showed him driving while texting can be dangerous.

"It was either one thing or the other.  Either pay attention to the keyboard or pay attention to the road," said Powell.

While he said if the new law is passed it will be a deterrent, he wonders how it will be enforced.

"If I thought I could fire off a quick one at a stop light I probably would," he said.

If Governor Bredesen signs the bill into law, Tennessee will become the tenth state to outlaw texting while driving.

Violators will face a $50 fine.

Alaska, California, Utah, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia, New York and Connecticut already have bans in place or that will take effect this year.

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