KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Starting July 1st, the new hands-free law is in effect. That means all drivers in the state must use a hands-free device to take calls while driving.
To prepare for this major change to your commute, 10News spoke to the Tennessee Highway Patrol about the do’s and don’ts under the new law.
Let's take a look at some frequently asked questions about how drivers can stay Hands-Free.
Question: Can I use my phone at a stop sign or red light?
“What it all boils down to is... Is the vehicle in motion?,” said Lt. Don Boshears, THP spokesperson. “By law, I have to answer your question. The answer is yes, you can. But we highly recommend against it."
Question: Can I still use an Apple Watch to take calls?
“We've had people ask about headphones, ear buds, yes, you can also use your wrist device,” Boshears said.
Question: Can I call 911 if I have an emergency?
“If you need to call 911 to report a wreck or if something has happened to you personally than yes, you can use the phone like you always have,” Boshears explained.
Question: If I'm playing music on my phone, can a skip to the next song?
“Not if it requires a touch,” Boshears said.
Question: Can I reroute my GPS in case I get lost?
“If you get lost, pullover. Find a parking lot or something. It only takes a few minutes to reprogram it. Hit it again, and then keep moving,” Boshears explained.
When do you need to be ready?
According to Boshears, the law is in effect as of July 1st with no grace period. Anyone who travels in Tennessee is responsible for following the law, even visitors.
If you haven’t prepared for the changes to your commute, it’s not too late. There are some items you can purchase online or in an appliance store like Walmart or Best Buy to make the transition easier.
You can buy a Bluetooth earpiece starting at about $17 dollars.
Don't want to wear an earpiece? You can also receive calls or play music through a Bluetooth speaker that you can slip on your sun visor. Prices on Amazon for that start at around $20.
You can also buy a mount for your phone.
Officers just ask that you do whatever works best for you.
“You don't have to go out and spend a whole lot of money to be in compliance with the law, and that's a good thing,” Boshears said.
Click here to learn more about the law.