Tennessee Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • Tennessee requires that you have your headlights on whenever you are using your windshield wipers.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Urban Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 65, Trucks 65

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: No
Automated Speed Enforcement: Yes
Aircraft: No
Laser: Yes

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact

Member of Driver License Compact

When and Where to File Accident Reports
The driver of a vehicle that is in any manner involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to or death to any person, or in which damage to the property of any one (1) person, including the driver’s, in excess of four hundred dollars ($400) is sustained, shall within twenty (20) days after the accident, forward a written report of the accident to the department of safety…

(Tennessee Statute 55-10-107, http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-55/chapter-10/part-1/55-10-107 )

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
In Tennessee, you can choose between a “split limit” or a “single limit” policy. The split limit is $25,000 per person injured in any one accident and $50,000 for all persons injured in any one accident. This also requires a minimum property damage coverage amount of $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident. The single limit is $60,000 per accident for all damages.

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: No
All Cell Phone Ban: School bus drivers, and learner’s permit and intermediate license holders
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for all offenses

Other Regulations

  • Open intoxicants are prohibited in the vehicle.
  • The BAC level is .08%.
  • Tennessee does not have an administrative license suspension law, but does have an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 1-year driver’s license suspension.
  • Firearms may be transported in vehicles if the weapons are unloaded and in plain view or cased; passenger compartment carry is as legitimate as trunk transport.
  • Studded tires are permitted from October 1 to April 15.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • Tennessee has a seat belt law with primary enforcement for all occupants.
  • Tennessee has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 14 years of age. Children under age 4 must use approved car safety seats.
  • Tennessee has a mandatory motorcycle helmet law.
  • Registration must be carried in the vehicle. An insurance card is required to be carried in the vehicle.
  • Tennessee State law states that you may not make a U-turn at any intersection controlled by a traffic light or police officer or any location where a U-turn is prohibited by signs or markings.

General Information
Telephone: 615/741-2060 (Highway Patrol, Nashville District) or the court website for your particular ticket
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: *THP