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Tennessee Auto Driving Laws

Losing Your Privilege To Drive

Under Tennessee driving law, a driver license may be revoked or suspended for the following offenses of Tennessee traffic laws:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including implied consent
  2. Allowing unlawful use of a driver license, including fraudulently altering a driver license or allowing another individual to use your license or identification
  3. Mental or physical difficulties
  4. Leaving the scene of a personal injury or fatal accident - failure to stop and render aid in an automobile accident
  5. Perjury, or giving false information on the use or ownership of an automobile, or for the issuance of a driver license
  6. A felony that involves the use of an automobile
  7. Evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle
  8. Manslaughter/vehicular homicide involving the operation of an automobile
  9. Two (2) reckless driving violations within twelve (12) months
  10. Drag racing
  11. Habitual offenders of Tennessee driving law violations
  12. Unsatisfied judgment resulting from the negligent operation of a motor vehicle
  13. Purchasing or possessing any alcoholic beverage if 18-20 years old
  14. Failure to comply with child support requirements

In addition, under Tennessee driving law persons under the age of 18 may lose their privileges for:

  • Convictions of any drug or alcohol offense, whether or not the offense occurred while driving;
  • Dropping out of school (which is defined as having ten consecutive or 15 total days in a semester of unexcused absences);
  • Failure to make satisfactory progress in school (which in general means passing three subjects per grading period); or
  • Weapons violations

Driver Improvement

The Driver Control/Improvement Section of the Tennessee Department of Safety was established to monitor the driving records of Tennessee drivers.

Individuals found to be frequent violators of Tennessee driving law (12 or more points) are sent a notice of proposed suspension and given an opportunity to attend a hearing.

Under Tennessee driving law, if they fail to request a hearing, their driving privileges are suspended for a period of six to 12 months.

In most cases, when a driver requests a hearing, they are given the opportunity to attend a defensive driving class in lieu of suspension or a reduction of suspension time.

When the department receives information that a driver has a medical/physical disability, the Driver Improvement Section will mail a medical form to be completed by his/her physician.

Action taken against these drivers, if any, is based on the completed medical report. In some cases, their driving privileges may be suspended or restricted.

If a complaint of a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle is submitted to the department, it is the Driver Improvement Section's responsibility to determine if any action should be taken. The individual may be required to submit to a re-evaluation of all, or any part, of the driver license examination.

Schedule of Values

The following values will be assigned to violations of Tennessee driving law or contributing to the occurrence of accidents:

Tennessee Traffic Law Violations

Violation - Points

  • Tickets and court abstracts where speed not indicated on source documents - 3
  • Speeding 1 through 5 mph in excess of speed zone - 1
  • Speeding 6 through 15 mph in excess of speed zone - 3
  • Speeding 16 through 25 mph in excess of speed zone - 4
  • Speeding 26 through 35 mph in excess of speed zone - 5
  • Speeding 36 through 45 mph in excess of speed zone - 6
  • Speeding 46 and above in excess of speed zone - 8
  • Reckless driving as defined by TCA 55-10-205 - 6
  • Signs and control devices - failure to obey traffic instructions - 4
  • Improper passing - passing where prohibited - 4
  • Wrong way, side or direction - 4
  • Following improperly - 3
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way - 4
  • Making improper turn - 3
  • Failure to signal intention to change vehicle direction - 2
  • Passing school bus taking on or discharging passengers - 6
  • Following emergency vehicles unlawfully - 2
  • Speed less than posted minimum - 3
  • Violation of bumper law conviction - 4
  • Driving without being licensed or without license required for type of vehicle operated - 3
  • Driving while license under suspension, revocation, or cancellation - 8
  • Careless or negligent driving - 4
  • Violation of driver license restrictions - 6
  • Reckless endangerment by vehicle - misdemeanor - 8
  • Miscellaneous traffic violations failing to maintain control, improper control, etc., or any offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle not herein specified - 3
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (property damage only) - 5
  • Failure to report an accident - 4
  • Fleeing law enforcement officer (misdemeanor) - 6
  • Driving while ability impaired - 8

Frequent Violations of Tennessee Driving Law

Frequent violations of Tennessee driving law are a most dangerous and costly habit. If you are suspended for frequent violations of Tennessee driving law, upon the completion of the suspension time, before you can receive your regular license, you must pay the appropriate reinstatement fees and establish future proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 Form) with the Department.

For More Information

Tennessee Department of Transportation


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