Law enforcement, first responders have exemptions under new cell phone law

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- While most drivers will be required to put down the phone under Tennessee's new hands free law, the bill does include some exemptions.

House Bill No. 164, which was signed by Governor Bill Lee on May 24th, bans drivers from using cell phones and other hand-held devices while driving in Tennessee.

Notably, Section (D) of the bill includes exemptions to law enforcement and first responders.

(1) Officers of this state or of any county, city, or town charged with the enforcement of the laws of this state, or federal law enforcement officers when in the actual discharge of their official duties
(2) Campus police officers and public safety officers, as defined by $ a9- 7-118, when in the actual discharge of their official duties
(3) Emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and firefighters, both volunteer and career, when in the actual discharge of their official duties
(4) Emergency management agency officers of this state or of any county, city, or town, when in the actual discharge of their official duties
(5) Persons using a wireless telecommunications device 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
(6) Employees or contractors of utility services providers acting within the scope of their employment
(7) Persons who are lawfully stopped or parked in their motor vehicles or who lawfully leave standing their motor vehicles

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