The city is setting new penalties for use of cell phones in school zones.
Drivers 18 and older may not use hand-held devices while in the zones, but they can be on their hands-free units.
Another section of an ordinance change would not allow those 18 and under to be talking on a cell phone while driving. That includes even if the device is hands-free.
The ordinance says:
Sec. 24-50. Prohibited use of hand-held mobile telephone in marked school zone;
prohibited use of mobile telephone with hands-free device by persons under 18.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Hands-free device” means a device that is designed to allow two-way communication via mobile telephone without the necessity of holding the mobile telephone, such as a speakerphone or headset; and
(2) “Mobile telephone” means a cellular, analog, wireless, or digital device that provides for voice communication or for both voice and data communication. “Mobile telephone” does not include a two-way radio or push-to-talk device.
(1) It is an offense for a person to knowingly operate a motor vehicle in any marked school zone in the city, when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, and talk on a hand-held mobile telephone while the vehicle is in motion.
(2) It is a delinquent act for a person under eighteen (18) years of age to knowingly operate a motor vehicle on any road or highway in the city and talk on a mobile telephone that is equipped with a hands-free device while the vehicle is in motion.
(3) This section does not prohibit a person eighteen (18) years of age or older from operating a motor vehicle in any marked school zone in the city, when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, and talking on a mobile telephone that is equipped with a hands-free device while the vehicle is in motion.
(c) 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 T.C.A. § 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;
(4) Emergency management agency officers of the state or of any county, city, or town, when in the actual discharge of their official duties; and
(5) Persons using a mobile telephone to communicate with law enforcement agencies, medical providers, fire departments, or other emergency service agencies while driving a motor vehicle, if the use is necessitated by a bona fide emergency, including a natural or human occurrence that threatens human health, life, or property.
(d) A violation of subsection (b) is punishable by a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) for each offense.
(e) Any person violating this section is subject to the imposition of court costs; provided, that the court costs shall not exceed ten dollars ($10.00). No state or local litigation taxes are applicable to a case prosecuted under this section.
(f) A traffic citation that is based solely upon a violation of this section is a non-moving traffic violation and no points shall be added to a driver record for the violation.