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Tennessee Code 55-8-152 - Speed limits -- Penalties

Tennessee Code > Title 55 > Chapter 8 > § 55-8-152 - Speed limits — Penalties


Current as of: 2010

(a) Except as provided in subsection (c), it is unlawful for any person to operate or drive a motor vehicle upon any highway or public road of this state in excess of sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph).

(b) "Truck," as used in this section, means any motor vehicle of one and one-half (1 ½) ton rated capacity or more.

(c) On all controlled-access highways with four (4) or more lanes, which are designated as being on the state system of highways or the state system of interstate highways, it is unlawful for any person to operate or drive a motor vehicle or a truck at a rate of speed in excess of seventy miles per hour (70 mph). In the left-hand lane of all controlled-access highways with four (4) or more lanes, which are designated as being on the state system of highways or the state system of interstate highways, it is unlawful for any person to operate or drive a motor vehicle at a rate of speed less than fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph).

(d) (1) (A) Except as provided for certain counties in subdivision (d)(2), counties and municipalities are authorized to establish special speed limits upon any highway or public road of this state within their jurisdiction, except at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways, which is adjacent to school grounds that are devoted primarily to normal school day activity. Such speed limit shall be enacted based on an engineering investigation, shall not be less than fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) and shall be in effect only when proper signs are posted with a warning flasher or flashers in operation and only while children are actually present.

(B) In any county or municipality where the local legislative body does not establish special speed limits as provided for above, any person who shall drive at a speed exceeding fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) when passing a school during a recess period when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, or during a period of ninety (90) minutes before the opening hour of a school or a period of ninety (90) minutes after the closing hour of a school, while children are actually going to or leaving school, shall be prima facie guilty of reckless driving.

(C) The department of transportation has the authority to establish such special speed limits at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways.

(2) In counties of not less than forty-three thousand seven hundred (43,700) nor more than forty-three thousand eight hundred (43,800) and counties of not less than one hundred forty-three thousand (143,000) nor more than one hundred forty-five thousand (145,000) and counties of not less than four hundred seventy-seven thousand eight hundred (477,800) nor more than four hundred seventy-seven thousand nine hundred (477,900), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, counties and municipalities are authorized to establish special speed limits upon any highway or public road of this state within their jurisdiction, except at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways, which is adjacent to or within one-fourth (¼) mile of school grounds that are devoted to normal school day activities. Such speed limit shall be enacted based on an engineering investigation and shall not be less than fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) and shall be in effect only when proper signs are posted with a warning flasher or flashers in operation. In any county or municipality where the local legislative body does not establish special speed limits as provided for above, any person who drives at a speed exceeding fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) when passing a school during a recess period when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, or during a period of forty (40) minutes before the opening hour of a school or a period of forty (40) minutes after the closing hour of a school, while children are actually going to or leaving school, is prima facie guilty of reckless driving. The department of transportation has the authority to establish such special speed limits at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways.

(e) (1) The fees of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other police officers, other than salaried officers, for making arrests for violations of the speed restrictions of this chapter, shall be one dollar ($1.00).

(2) The reference to sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other police officers in subdivision (e)(1) also includes constables in counties of this state having a population of:

Click to view table.

according to the 1960 federal census or any subsequent federal census, and Fentress and Hamblen Counties.

(f) (1) (A) Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the department is authorized to lower the speed limits prescribed in this section, and on the state system of roads and highways, as it deems appropriate due to concerns regarding the roadway, traffic, or other conditions. This authorization to reduce the speed limits set by this section shall be in addition to the authority conveyed by § 55-8-153.

(B) When the department determines that it is necessary to reduce the speed limits set in subsection (a), the commissioner shall so indicate the reduced speed limit via a letter of policy statement, and the commissioner shall cause signs indicating the new speed limit to be erected.

(C) Subject to § 55-8-153(c), the municipalities of the state are authorized to set speed limits on the public roads and streets within their jurisdictions that are not a part of the interstate and national defense highway system nor any access controlled highway on the state road and highway system. In addition, the counties of this state are authorized to set speed limits on the public roads and highways within their jurisdiction that are not a part of the interstate or state highway system. The speed limits for both municipalities and counties shall not exceed fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph).

(2) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, during the period in which this subsection (f) is in effect, any person who is arrested or receives a traffic citation for driving or operating a motor vehicle in excess of fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph) but less than seventy-five miles per hour (75 mph) on a highway of the interstate and defense highway system or a four-lane controlled-access highway which are federal or state highways, or in excess of fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph) or less than sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph) on a highway or road which has an existing speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph) as of March 1, 1974, shall be charged with speeding and upon conviction shall not be fined more than the maximum fine nor less than the minimum fine for speeding as provided by law for that violation, nor shall any costs be imposed or assessed against the person. Costs shall be imposed in such cases should the person fail to appear or answer the traffic citation as required by law. The conviction shall not be reported to the department of safety under the provisions of §§ 55-10-306 and 55-12-115. Such person shall not be required to attend driver education course as provided in § 55-10-301. The conviction for speeding shall not result in suspension or revocation of operator's or chauffeur's license unless the excess speed constitutes reckless driving, as set out herein. This subsection (f) shall not apply to trucks as defined in subsection (b) when traveling in excess of sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph) on all highways of the interstate and defense highway system and four-laned controlled-access highways, which are federal or state routes of this state or when traveling in excess of fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph) on any other highways of this state. A violation of this subsection (f) is a Class C misdemeanor. However, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a violation of the reduced speed limits set by the department of transportation, pursuant to § 55-8-153, is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by fine only, when employees of the department or construction workers are present. The amount of the fine imposed pursuant to § 55-8-153 shall not be less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500). Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection (f) to the contrary, no provision of this subsection (f), nor of § 55-8-153, shall be construed so as to prevent the entry of a suspended sentence upon the conviction of a defendant for the first violation of the enhanced penalties provided for when the violation occurs within a work zone and when employees of the department of transportation or construction workers are present and when the trier of fact determines that extraordinary circumstances lead to the violation.

(g) (1) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any county having a population of not less than sixty-seven thousand five hundred (67,500) nor more than sixty-seven thousand six hundred (67,600), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census may assess any person who is arrested or receives a traffic citation for driving or operating a motor vehicle in excess of the posted speed limits an additional fine of five dollars ($5.00). This fine shall be in addition to any fine assessed under this or any other applicable section.

(2) Fines collected pursuant to subdivision (g)(1) shall be placed in a fund to be established by such county. The fund shall be for the sole purpose of erecting and maintaining highway signs.

(3) This subsection (g) shall have no effect unless it is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislative body of any county to which it may apply. Its approval or nonapproval shall be proclaimed by the presiding officer of the county legislative body and certified by the presiding officer to the secretary of state.

(h) Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, only the department of transportation has the authority to set speed limits on access-controlled roadways designated as being on the state system of highways and on roadways designated as being on the state system of interstate highways.

[Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 51; 1965, ch. 94, § 1; 1969, ch. 160, § 3; 1969, ch. 319, §§ 3, 4; 1970, ch. 456, § 1; 1970, ch. 496, § 1; 1970, ch. 588, §§ 1, 2; 1971, ch. 53, §§ 1-3; 1971, ch. 231, §§ 1, 2; 1972, ch. 530, § 1; 1972, ch. 584, § 1; 1973, ch. 214, § 1; 1973, ch. 389, § 1; 1974, ch. 457, § 1; 1974, ch. 631, §§ 1, 2; 1974, ch. 797, § 1; 1975, ch. 356, § 1; Private Acts 1976, ch. 242, § 1; Private Acts 1976, ch. 293; Acts 1977, ch. 239, § 6; 1977, ch. 278, § 1; T.C.A., § 59-852; Acts 1981, ch. 39, § 1; 1982, ch. 881, § 1; 1987, ch. 313, §§ 1-3; 1988, ch. 762, §§ 1, 2; 1988, ch. 832, § 1; 1989, ch. 299, §§ 1-3; 1989, ch. 591, § 113; 1991, ch. 9, § 5; 1991, ch. 415, § 7; 1992, ch. 973, § 4; 1993, ch. 34, §§ 1, 2; Private Acts 1994, ch. 191, § 3; Acts 1995, ch. 389, § 1; 1996, ch. 553, § 3; 1996, ch. 609, § 1; 1996, ch. 753, § 3; 1996, ch. 793, § 1; 1998, ch. 654, § 1; 1998, ch. 671, § 1; 2000, ch. 967, § 1; 2001, ch. 221, § 1; 2001, ch. 252, §§ 1, 2; 2002, ch. 505, § 1; 2007, ch. 450, § 1.]

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See also:
Tennessee Code > Title 55 > Chapter 8 - Operation of Vehicles—Rules of the Road
Comments (5)add comment
Kennedy: ...
Is it legal to exceed speed limit when merging into traffic to avoid an accident ?
1

November 18, 2012
Steven Daily: ...
Kennedy,

It does not matter that someone speeding is attempting to avoid an accident. There is a different traffic offense known as failure to avoid an accident, which you can read about here:

http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/tennessee/tn-code/tennessee_code_55-8-136

This may be what you are thinking of.

Steve Daily
LawServer
2

November 18, 2012
Bo: ...
I recently got a speeding ticket in Putnam County Cookeville, it is my first ever speeding ticket and i was hoping there i something i can do so that i does not show up on my record, i know in knoxville you can do a no contest plea and it doesnt go on record but do you if there is anything you can do for speeding ticket in Putnam County
3

February 12, 2013
Greg Cutler: ...
I have family in TN and if they get a speeding ticket can they speak to the prosecution prior to making a plea?
4

July 20, 2013
Richard K: ...
When stopped by an officer in Tn for speeding, is there a state law that requires he identify himself and agency(authority) and a lawful reason for the stop?
5

March 30, 2014

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