Updated: October, 2023Summary of common traffic laws in Tennessee – Speed limits, License Renewals, Learners Permits, Drunk Driving Laws, and more. For more information, visit the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office website.
In Tennessee, the maximum speed limit for cars is 70 mph. The maximum highway speed for trucks is also 70 mph. Speed limits vary by state and, in some cases, county-by-county. Always observe posted traffic laws and drive safely for the weather and road conditions.
Tennessee allows new drivers to get their learners permit at the age of 15. You must have your provisional license for a minimum of 6 months. Drivers can then get their intermediate license at 16. An Intermediate License allows you to drive yourself without a qualified co-pilot in the car. However, driving restrictions still apply including the time-of-day you can drive and the maximum number of passengers allowed.
In Tennessee, drivers can obtain their full drivers license at the age of 17.
Tennessee requires you to renew your license every 5 years. If you are over a certain age, additional license renewal rules apply:
The state of Tennessee enforces increased penalties for speeding violations within work zones. These increased penalties are known as Work Zone Enhancements. Workers must be present and there must be signs idicating road work is in progress in order for Work Zone Enhancements to be enforced. In Tennessee, Work Zone Enhacements are:
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. Driving while above the legal limit is called Driving Under the Influence. Driving while above certain BAC is called Driving while intoxicated and carries a heavier penalty. In Tennessee, driving with a BAC above 0.20% will trigger automatic enhanced minimum penalties.
Cellphones and other handheld devices are banned while driving in most states. In Tennessee, hand-held devices such as phones and mp3 player are banned to novice drivers only. Hands-free interaction with cellphones is allowed.
Texting while driving is banned in Tennessee. Texting while driving is concidered a primary offense. This means that you can be pulled over with texting as the only offense. In Tennessee, distracted driving is listed as a category on police crash report forms.
Tennessee requires seabelt use. Seatbelt enforcement is concidered primary, meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for a seatbelt law violation in Tennessee is $50.00. Seatbelt laws very by state. Many states require passengers to wear seatbelts as well.