New laws in four states put stricter limits on cellphone use while driving, giving local retailers an opportunity to educate consumers about CarPlay, Android Auto and other handsfree technology.
At any given time, over 600,000 people are on their phones while driving, according to NHTSA. Cellphone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year, says the National Safety Council.
Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Florida are the latest states to take action.
Effective July 1, Tennessee becomes completely handsfree. This replaces a former law that only required handheld use while driving in a school zone or when the driver was under the age of 18. Under the new law, drivers cannot physically hold the phone or support it with any part of their body. They are subject to three points on a driver’s license for each violation in addition to a $50 fine.
Also, as of July 1, Illinois upgraded texting while driving to a moving violation that takes points off one’s license. If a driver gets three citations, his license will be suspended.
Florida also gets a new cellphone law that goes into effect July 1. It makes texting while driving a primary offense versus a secondary offense, which means police can pull you over and issue a ticket just for texting. Previously, it was illegal to text while driving but police could not pull you over for it.
Florida drivers may still use their phones to navigate, make phone calls and read emergency messages, such as weather alerts, except in school and work zones, according to the bill.
A bill banning handheld cellphone use while driving in Massachusetts just passed both the House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor before the end of the year. It calls for a fine of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third. Holding the phone for any reason while driving is banned under the bill. You can read more here.
Retailers are encouraged to announce the changes in cellphone laws via their Facebook and social media accounts, and offer drivers alternatives.
For an overview of state laws click here.
For information on pending laws click here.