Top Ten Driver Safety Laws in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Safety has compiled a nice list of top ten driver safety laws in Tennessee. Violation of one of these laws is negligence per se. That means the legislature has determined that you are negligent if you violate these laws but the specific act of negligence must be the cause of the injury.

As a Nashville injury lawyer, I must also make sure my clients follow these laws. Tennessee is a “comparative fault” state. This means the jury compares the fault of the careless driver with the victim. If the victim was texting and could have avoided the collision but for texting while driving, a judge could reduce the damages by the percentage of fault of the victim.

Regarding seatbelts, the failure to “buckle up” is usually, in most cases, not admissible evidence in a Tennessee automobile accident case. There are a few exceptions, most notable product liability cases involving the safety of the automobile.

Other highlights from the list include:

Texting While Driving Law (TCA 55-8-199) Texting while driving a vehicle in Tennessee is illegal.

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.

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
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.

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.

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).

Stay safe.