NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, it is now illegal for drivers in Tennessee to send or receive text messages while driving.
The measure, sponsored by Republicans Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol and Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, exempts certain officials, such as officers of the state, campus police officers and emergency medical technicians, when performing their duties.
The action is considered a nonmoving traffic violation and violators will be fined $50.
No points can be added to a person's driver's license.
Opponents have argued that law enforcement may not be able to tell whether drivers are texting or dialing and that texting is already covered under the state's distracted driving law.
Tennessee is the tenth state to outlaw texting while driving.
Alaska, California, Utah, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia, New York and Connecticut already have bans in place or that will take effect this year.