What is The Tennessee Interstate Driver License Compact
Posted in Car accidents on June 19, 2023
The Interstate Driver License Compact has been around since the 1960s. Designed in order to help facilitate the exchange of information concerning driver’s license suspensions and traffic violations between states, this compact was adopted by Tennessee in 2020. Technically, this is now called the Driver License Agreement, a change that occurred in the 1990s. Here, we want to further discuss this agreement as well as how it could affect Tennessee drivers.
Updated Interstate License Agreement
The Interstate Driver License Compact enables states in the United States to exchange information regarding license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents and send a report of the violation to the offender’s home state. The main goal of this compact is to treat the offense committed by a non-resident as if it had taken place in their home state, applying home state laws and taking appropriate action.
The Driver License Compact focuses on the principle of “One Driver, One License, One Record.” It includes a range of offenses, from minor violations like speeding to major infractions such as driving under the influence (DUI). The compact is not intended to cover non-moving violations like parking tickets or equipment violations.
Under the law, Tennessee is required to report convictions to an offender’s home state in cases involving offenses like manslaughter, negligent homicide, DUI, and failing to stop and provide aid after a motor vehicle accident resulting in death or catastrophic injury. It also applies to offenders with felony convictions who use a motor vehicle to commit a crime. If an individual has been suspended or revoked in a compact state, the licensing authority of another party state may not issue a license until the termination period has expired. After one year, the applicant may reapply for a driver’s license.
This new law has significant implications for tourists visiting Tennessee who are convicted of qualifying offenses. Previously, a conviction in Tennessee might not have been reported to the visitor’s home state. However, under this new law, it is likely that the conviction will now be reported.
DUI Charges and The Interstate Compact
The impact of this law is even more substantial for individuals convicted of DUI in Tennessee. Typically, Tennessee residents convicted of DUI are eligible for a restricted driver’s license. However, once the conviction is reported to the home state, non-residents may not have the opportunity to obtain a restricted license. The driver’s license privileges of an individual are governed by the laws of the state that issued their license.
We do want to note that individuals who receive a DUI in another state aside from Tennessee will not face Tennessee DUI charges. Under the Interstate Compact Agreement we have discussed, individuals who receive any type of traffic citation or criminal violation will go through the criminal defense process in the state where they received the violation or criminal charge. Even though the compact can affect a person’s licensing in Tennessee, they will not suffer any of the criminal penalties in the state of Tennessee for a conviction in another state.
Dealing With a Traffic Violation
Overall, Tennessee’s participation in the Interstate Driver License Compact has expanded the reach of traffic violation and license suspension reporting. While this may create challenges for tourists and non-residents convicted of offenses in Tennessee, it aims to promote safer roads and ensure consistent enforcement of traffic laws across state lines.
If you have received a traffic violation in another state, we encourage you to resolve the matter as promptly as possible. This may include securing assistance from a traffic citation or criminal defense lawyer who can help you sort through the steps needed to bring the matter to a conclusion. Please understand that, with the implementation of the Driver License Compact, any out-of-state violation will be known by Tennessee authorities.
As we mentioned above, individuals who receive a traffic violation or criminal charge outside of Tennessee will go through the justice system in the state where they receive their charge. If you are seeking out an attorney for assistance, you need to work with an attorney in the state where the charges originated.
Does the Interstate Driver License Compact Affect Accidents or Injuries?
The goal of the Interstate Driver License Compact is to increase safety on the roadways. Obviously, drivers are not beholden to staying in their home state, but without this agreement, it would be nearly impossible to know whether or not a person in one state had received a traffic violation or traffic criminal charge in another state. Sometimes, individuals would have a suspended license in one state and be able to obtain a driver’s license in another. The agreement seeks to increase safety by ensuring uniformity amongst state driver’s licensing.
Individuals who operate their vehicles while impaired or while distracted, speeding, or committing some other type of major violation are inherently dangerous on the roadway. The goal of a traffic violation and conviction is to not only help keep dangerous drivers off the roadway, but also take the steps necessary to correct the dangerous driving behavior.
Ultimately, this Interstate agreement seeks to reduce the total number of vehicle collisions, thus reducing the number of injuries and fatalities that occur on the roadways of Tennessee.
What if You Are Injured in Another State?
If you sustain an injury or property damage caused by the negligent or careless actions of another driver, but the injury occurs in a state outside of Tennessee, this could complicate the process of recovering compensation. Vehicle accident claims become more challenging when the incident occurs farther away from your home. Inevitably, after you seek medical care for your injuries, you will want to get back to your home state.
You will file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver, but that does not guarantee fair compensation. Insurance carriers are notorious for offering low settlements or even denying claims. The insurance carrier will realize you are in another state, and they may use that to their advantage. We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled personal injury lawyer licensed to practice in the state where you sustained your injuries. If you want to work with an attorney in Tennessee, you will need to ensure that they are licensed to practice in the state where the accident occurred. If they are not, they may be able to provide you with a reference to an attorney in the state where the injury occurred, but you may need to do some searching to find an attorney you are comfortable with.
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, our Nashville accident lawyers can help you recover the