Every state has its own set of traffic laws drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and even bicyclists must follow to help keep order in the streets and of course, protect those who occupy it. The state of TN has several in which drivers along with those mentioned above should be aware of so that they can help contribute to a safer road and reduce the chances of an accident or injury. Below we share with you seven traffic safety laws provided on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security which should be reviewed to help make the roadway a better place for all.
- Texting While Driving Law(TCA 55-8-199).
In the state of TN, it is illegal to text and drive. According to Teensafe, texting while driving is all three types of distracted driving: cognitive, manual, and visual. Texting causes drivers to take one, and sometimes even both hands off the wheel, requires them to think when they are attempting to get out their thoughts in a message, and also requires them to shift their eyes from off the road. And as you probably have already heard or learned yourself, distracted driving is one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents today.
- Move Over Law(TCA 55-8-132).
Another law you should be aware of is the Move Over Law. When you come upon a stopped emergency vehicle that has its emergency lights activated, you are “required to yield the right-of-way to the vehicle by moving into the closest available lane from the emergency vehicle, whenever possible.” If the roadway does not permit you to do so, you are “required to slow down and provide as much space as possible to protect emergency vehicle operators in action.” Did you know that tow trucks are also considered emergency responders as they are often called to the scene of an accident? Therefore, it is best to treat these vehicles with the same level of respect that should be given to other types of emergency response vehicles.
- Seat Belt Law(TCA 55-9-603).
Tennessee motorists are required to wear their seat belts at all times when operating a vehicle and they are also “responsible for ensuring that all passengers are belted in” as well. Seat belts save lives, whether they are uncomfortable or not, so they should be worn as you never know when you might engage in a wreck yourself.
- Speeding in Construction Zones Law(TCA 55-8-153).
When approaching a construction zone, drivers must remain cognizant of what the speed limits are and how much they have been reduced by. When roadway workers are present, they are generally operating heavy machinery and are often traveling in and out of the construction zone. That means drivers need to actively be watching for them and drive slowly through these areas so that they have ample time to stop if they are required to do so. Those who are caught violating construction zone laws are subject to paying a minimum fine of $250.00.
- Tennessee’s DUI Law and Penalties(TCA 55-10-401 and 55-10-403).
It is illegal for drivers in the state of TN to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08%. Those who are caught for the first time violating the law are subject to a $350.00 minimum fine and having to spend 48 hours in jail. Their vehicle may be towed and stored and the offender will be faced with a criminal charge for their actions. In the event the driver’s BAC level is higher than the legal limit or they have children present in the vehicle with them at the time of their arrest, they will be faced with enhanced penalties.
Aside from it being against the law to drive while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, it is extremely dangerous. In 2016 alone, 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes [Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
- Child Restraint Devices Law(TCA 55-9-602).
To help prevent child injuries and deaths, drivers are required to properly secure them in the appropriate type of seat and/or with the proper type of belt. For instance,
- All children who are eight years and younger must be secured in a Child Restraint Device.
- Infants must be placed in a rear-facing child restraint device in the rear seat, if available, until the age of one or if they are twenty pounds or less.
- Children who are between the ages one and three who weigh more than twenty pounds must be buckled into a child restraint device in a forward-facing position in the rear seat.
- Children who are between the ages of four and eight and are less than four feet, nine inches in height must be buckled into a booster seat in the rear seat.
- Once a child reaches the age of nine, they must be properly secured by a safety belt.
- Motorcycle Helmet Law(TCA 55-9-302).
Motorcyclists, like pedestrians and bicyclists, are some of the most vulnerable occupants out on the roads. That is why they must take all the necessary safety measures to ensure they are protecting themselves and reducing the chances of an accident or injury. In the state of TN, all motorcycle operators along with their passengers must wear a helmet and these helmets must “meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT).”
Anytime a motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian, or other occupant of the roadway disobeys one or more traffic laws and causes an accident, they will likely be held liable for their actions. If you were involved in a traffic wreck in Nashville, TN that has resulted in you and/or your passengers suffering an injury, contact Nashville personal injury attorney George R. Fusner Jr. to learn more about how much you are entitled to recover for the incident. Your injuries along with the other damages you suffered will influence just how much you can collect, and our firm is more than qualified to provide you with an accurate estimate.
To schedule an initial consultation with our office today, call us at 615-251-0005.