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Home News Local News Distracted driving: Scott is among Tennessee's safest counties

Distracted driving: Scott is among Tennessee’s safest counties

With a new law set to take effect next week that effectively bans the use of handheld mobile devices while driving, a new statistical compilation shows that Scott County is among Tennessee’s safest counties when it comes to distracted driving.

According to a data set presented by the website Value Penguin, a LendingTree company, Scott County ranks 88th out of 95 Tennessee counties for distracted driving auto accidents per capita, with 0.67 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents.

The only counties with fewer distracted driving crashes per capita are Perry, Hancock, Pickett, Union, Grainer, Bledsoe and Jackson.

Those numbers are based on 2017 data.

Additionally, Scott  County had one of  the smallest increases in distracted driving-related accidents over the past nine years. According to the data set, there were 7.1 percent more distracted driving crashes in Scott County in 2017 than in 2008.

Pickett County’s rate of 0.59 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents was unchanged from nine years ago.

By comparison, there were 2.66 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents in Anderson County, an increase of 57.5 percent over nine years ago. In Fentress County, there were 2.23 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents, a 900 percent increase over nine years ago. Campbell County had 1.67 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents, an increase of 83.80 percent over nine years earlier. And Morgan County had 1.05 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents, up 64.30 percent over nine years earlier.

The state’s most dangerous county for distracted driving was Shelby County, with 7.83 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents, an increase of 343.50 percent over nine years ago.

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Other counties near the top were Putnam County, with 4.89 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 residents, and Sevier County, with 3.27 distracted driving crashes per 1,000 reisidents. For an urban area, Knox County had a relatively low number of distracted driving crashes — 2.21 per 1,000 residents, an increase of 35.90 percent over nine years ago.

Beginning Monday, it is illegal for motorists to have a cell phone in their hand — even if the phone is not in use. There is a $100 fine for violations. 

Texting while driving was already illegal in Tennessee, but the new law bans talking while driving unless the phone is not in the driver’s hand. Phones can be used with hands-free bluetooth devices, or if they’re affixed to the dash of the vehicle.

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