Tennessee’s new no device while driving rule went into effect, what I’ve found so far

While Tennessee and Nashville both had anti-mobile device laws, they decided to enact a new one on July 1st that basically is the same as the previous ones, with the addition that you can’t reach for a device in such a fashion that you leave control of your car.

That of course was already covered under distracted driving laws, but you know… “Hands Free Tennessee!” has a better ring than “pre-existing unenforced laws on the books for the last decade!”

I’ve tried to completely honor the letter and the spirit of the law the past two weeks. I’ve actually always tried, but before the don’t touch more than a button law I might have held the phone to get it closer to my mouth for the occasional “OK Google”. I don’t now.

What I’ve found trying to voice-operate an Android device is that based on no discernable thing that saying “OK Google” will trigger an action beep 2 seconds or 5 seconds after you say it. The beep’s not always evident with the noise of a car so hope you didn’t start talking early.

If you ask Google to cancel navigation you’ll quite often kill the music as well. I’m assuming this depends on where you launch it from. And if you ask for “Old Town Road” and it doesn’t catch the “play” while you’re driving you’re going to get directions to Old Town Road, where you can ride ’till you can’t no more.

There’re no obvious voice requests to cancel your choice and get back to navigation.

I’ve also got an older Honda interface, so when text messages come in I can have them read by a robotic voice that seldom makes much sense. Usually out of order.

Answering phone calls is easy with the driver link, making phone calls is next to impossible it seems as every contact I need to call it wants to ask “which one” and then not hear what I’m saying.

I think what I’m going to attempt to do is get the phone dash positioned and see whether that clears up some of the problems. It’s been remarkably less useful having voice and text to voice than I would have expected based on what I can do in more ideal conditions.

If hands-free driving isn’t mandatory where you’re at, it’s coming. Might want to practice early and figure out what you can and can’t do before you’re on the road.

As for what I have found: appears that since the law went into effect that more people are pulling their phones at stop lights, and not seeing the stop lights, and rushing to get through causing more potential harm at intersections and stops.

Probably lower rates of distracted death at speed however.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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One thought on “Tennessee’s new no device while driving rule went into effect, what I’ve found so far

  • You can use the Roav Bolt to add Google Assistant to your car that doesn’t have a modern infotainment system. Just connect via Bluetooth. This is designed for hands free driving


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