(a) For the purpose of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 55-8-199

  • Code: includes the Tennessee Code and all amendments and revisions to the code and all additions and supplements to the code. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Department: means the department of safety. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Driver: means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Highway: means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way when any part thereto is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Motor vehicle: means every vehicle, including a low speed vehicle or a medium-speed vehicle that is self-propelled, excluding motorized bicycles, and every vehicle, including a low speed vehicle or a medium speed vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Person: means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association or corporation. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Record: means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in a perceivable form. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Road: includes public bridges and may be held equivalent to the words "county way" "county road" or "state road". See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Traffic: means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Vehicle: means every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • written: includes printing, typewriting, engraving, lithography, and any other mode of representing words and letters. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105

(1) “Mobile telephone” means a cellular, analog, wireless or digital device that provides for voice communication and for data communication other than by voice; and

(2) “Personal digital assistant” means a wireless electronic communication device that provides for data communication other than by voice.

(b) No person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message; provided, that a driver does not transmit or read a written message for the purpose of this subsection (b) if the driver reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a hand-held mobile telephone or a personal digital assistant for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.

(c) This section shall only apply to a person driving a motor vehicle that is in motion at the time a written message from a mobile telephone or hand-held personal digital assistant is transmitted or read by the person.

(d) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor, subject only to imposition of a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) and court costs not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00), including, but not limited to, any statutory fees of officers. No state or local based on a complaint litigation taxes shall be applicable to a case prosecuted under this section.

(e) This section shall not apply to the following persons:

(1) Officers of the state or of any county, city or town charged with the enforcement of the laws of the state, when in the actual discharge of their official duties;

(2) Campus police officers and public safety officers, as defined by § Code Sec. 49-7-118″>49-7-118, when in the actual discharge of their official duties;

(3) Emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technician-paramedics and firefighters, both volunteer and career, when in the actual discharge of their official duties; and

(4) Emergency management agency officers of the state or of any county, city or town, when in the actual discharge of their official duties.

(f) A traffic citation that is based solely upon a violation of this section shall be considered a nonmoving traffic violation and no points shall be added to a driver record for the violation.

(g) The department of transportation is directed to utilize the department’s permanent electronic overhead informational displays located throughout this state to provide periodic messages to the motoring public as to the provisions of this section.

[Acts 2009, ch. 201, §§ 1, 2.]