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Top Ten Traffic Safety Laws for TN Visitors

Click here to access a free online version of The Tennessee Code. To find a particular statute, enter the statute number (i.e. 39-17-1351) into the search box at the top left of the page and click the 'search' button. That will give you a direct link to the statute you want to read.


  1. Texting While Driving Law (TCA 55-8-199) Texting while driving a vehicle in Tennessee is illegal.
  2. Move Over Law (TCA 55-8-132) When approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with visual emergency lights activated, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to the vehicle by moving into the closest available lane from the emergency vehicle, whenever possible. When the roadway does not provide an additional lane, drivers are required to slow down and provide as much space as possible to protect emergency vehicle operators in action.
  3. Seat Belt Law (TCA 55-9-603) Tennessee is a primary Safety Belt state. Drivers are required to wear safety belts at all times when operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee. Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that all passengers are belted in.
  4. Speeding in Construction Zones Law (TCA 55-8-153) Drivers are required to obey speed limits at all times, especially when workers are in a construction zone. Violators are subject to a minimum $250.00 fine.
  5. Handgun Carry Permit Law (TCA 39-17-1351) Tennessee allows out-of-state residents who possess a legally issued Handgun Carry Permit to bear a handgun; Tennessee laws regulating the use and carry of a handgun shall take precedence. To view Tennessee law and listing of states Tennessee has reciprocity agreements with, select the following link: http://www.tn.gov/safety/handgun/reciprocity.shtml
  6. Tennessee's DUI Law and Penalties (TCA 55-10-401 and 55-10-403) Individuals are presumed to be under the influence of alcohol with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08%. First time offenders are subject to a $350.00 minimum fine and 48 hours in jail. Vehicle towing and storage will also be charged to offenders. Enhanced penalties and sanctions will result if BAC is greater than the legal limit or if children are present at the time of arrest.
  7. Maximum Length of Recreational Vehicle Combination Law (TCA 55-7-201) The maximum length of this type of combination vehicle is sixty-five feet (65'). Any towed vehicle shall also be securely attached to the pulling unit and equipped with functional brake and signal lights.
  8. Child Restraint Devices Law (TCA 55-9-602) All child passengers through the age of eight (8) must be secured in a Child Restraint Device. Infants are required in a rear facing child restraint device in the rear seat, if available, until the age of one (1) or weighing twenty pounds (20 lbs.) or less. Children ages one (1) through three (3) weighing greater than twenty pounds (20 lbs.) must be in a child restraint device in a forward facing position in the rear seat, if available. Children ages four (4) through eight (8) and less than four-feet, nine inches (4’ 9”) in height must be in a booster seat in the rear seat, if available. Children above the age of nine (9) must be secured by a safety belt restraint system.
  9. Motorcycle Helmet Law (TCA 55-9-302) All motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet. Helmets must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  10. Open Container Law (TCA 55-10-416) Drivers shall not consume or possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or beer while operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee.