As used in this chapter and chapter 10, parts 1-5, of this title, unless the context otherwise requires:

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 55-8-101

  • Code: includes the Tennessee Code and all amendments and revisions to the code and all additions and supplements to the code. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Commissioner: means the commissioner of revenue. See Tennessee Code 55-1-111
  • Department: means the department of revenue. See Tennessee Code 55-1-111
  • Highway: includes public bridges and may be held equivalent to the words "county way" "county road" or "state road". See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Lands: includes lands, tenements and hereditaments, and all rights thereto and interests therein, equitable as well as legal. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Person: includes a corporation, firm, company or association. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Property: includes both personal and real property. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Road: includes public bridges and may be held equivalent to the words "county way" "county road" or "state road". See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • United States: includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105

(1) “Arterial street” means any United States or state numbered route, controlled access highway, or other major radial or circumferential street or highway designed by local authorities within their respective jurisdictions as part of a major arterial system of streets or highways;

(2) (A) “Authorized emergency vehicle” means vehicles of the fire department, fire patrol, police vehicles or bicycles and emergency vehicles that are designated or authorized by the commissioner or the chief of police of an incorporated city, and vehicles operated by commissioned members of the Tennessee bureau of investigation when on official business;

(B) “Authorized emergency vehicle in certain counties” means vehicles owned by regular or volunteer firefighters in any county with a population of not less than thirty-two thousand seven hundred fifty (32,750) nor more than thirty-two thousand eight hundred (32,800), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, when the vehicles are used in responding to a fire alarm or other emergency call;

(C) (i) “Authorized emergency vehicle” automatically includes every ambulance and emergency medical vehicle operated by any emergency medical service licensed by the department of health pursuant to title Code Sec. t68″>68, chapter 140, part 5; and, notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, regulation of these ambulances and emergency medical vehicles shall be exclusively performed by the department of health, except as provided in § 68-140-526, and no special authorization, approval or filing shall be required pursuant to this chapter by the commissioner of safety;

(ii) “Authorized emergency vehicle” automatically includes every rescue vehicle or emergency response vehicle owned and operated by a state- chartered rescue squad, emergency lifesaving crew or active member unit of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads and no special authorization, approval or filing shall be required for the vehicle pursuant to this chapter by the commissioner of safety;

(3) “Autocycle” has the same meaning as defined in § 55-1-103;

(4) “Bicycle” means every device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels, either of which is more than twenty inches (20²) in diameter;

(5) “Bus” means every motor vehicle designed for carrying more than ten (10) passengers and used for the transportation of persons, and every motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used for the transportation of persons for compensation;

(6) “Business district” means the territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any six hundred feet (600¢) along the highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including, but not limited to, hotels, banks, or office buildings, railroad stations and public buildings that occupy at least three hundred feet (300¢) of frontage on one (1) side or three hundred feet (300¢) collectively on both sides of the highway;

(7) “Certified police cyclist” means any full time, sworn law enforcement officer who is certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association or has otherwise been certified by the Tennessee peace officer standards and training commission as having received and successfully completed appropriate bicycle training in the performance of law enforcement functions;

(8) “Chauffeur” means every person who is employed by another for the principal purpose of driving a motor vehicle and every person who drives a school bus transporting school children or any motor vehicle when in use for the transportation of persons or property for compensation;

(9) “Commissioner” means the commissioner of safety;

(10) “Controlled-access highway” means every highway, street or roadway in respect to which owners or occupants of abutting lands and other persons have no legal right of access to or from the same, except at such points only and in such manner as may be determined by the public authority having jurisdiction over the highway, street or roadway;

(11) “Crosswalk” means:

(A) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; or

(B) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface;

(12) “Dealer” means every person engaged in the business of buying, selling or exchanging vehicles of a type required to be registered and who has an established place of business for that purpose in this state;

(13) “Department” means the department of safety;

(14) “Driver” means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle;

(15) “Essential parts” means all integral and body parts of a vehicle of a type required to be registered, the removal, alteration or substitution of which would tend to conceal the identity of the vehicle or substantially alter its appearance, model, type or mode of operation;

(16) “Established place of business” means the place actually occupied either continuously or at regular periods by a dealer or manufacturer where the books and records are kept and a large share of the business is transacted;

(17) “Explosives” means any chemical compound or mechanical mixture that is commonly used or intended for the purpose of producing an explosion and that contains any oxidizing and combustive units or other ingredients in those proportions, quantities or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion or by detonator of any part of the compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects or of destroying life or limb;

(18) “Farm tractor” means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement for drawing plows, mowing machines and other implements of husbandry;

(19) “Flammable liquid” means any liquid that has a flash point of seventy degrees Fahrenheit (70° F.), or less, as determined by a tagliabue or equivalent closed-cup test device;

(20) “Foreign vehicle” means every vehicle of a type required to be registered brought into this state from another state, territory or country other than in the ordinary course of business by or through a manufacturer or dealer and not registered in this state;

(21) “Gross weight” means the weight of a vehicle without load plus the weight of any load thereon;

(22) “Highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way when any part thereto is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel;

(23) “Implement of husbandry” means every vehicle that is designed for agricultural purposes and exclusively used by the owner thereof in the conduct of the owner’s agricultural operations;

(24) “Intersection” means:

(A) The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two (2) highways that join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the areas within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict; or

(B) Where a highway includes two (2) roadways thirty feet (30¢) or more apart, then every crossing of each roadway of that divided highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a separate intersection. In the event the intersecting highway also includes two (2) roadways thirty feet (30¢) or more apart, then every crossing of two (2) roadways of such highways shall be regarded as a separate intersection;

(25) “Laned roadway” means a roadway which is divided into two (2) or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic;

(26) “License to operate a vehicle” means any operator’s or chauffeur’s license, or any other license or permit to operate a motor vehicle issued under the laws of this state including:

(A) Any temporary license or instruction permit;

(B) The privilege of any person to drive a motor vehicle whether or not that person holds a valid license; and

(C) Any nonresident’s operating privilege as defined in this section;

(27) “Local authorities” means every county, municipal and other local board or body having authority to enact ordinances or make regulations relating to traffic under the constitution and laws of this state;

(28) “Low speed vehicle” means any four-wheeled electric vehicle, excluding golf carts, whose top speed is greater than twenty miles per hour (20 mph) but not greater than twenty-five miles per hour (25 mph), including neighborhood vehicles. Low speed vehicles must comply with the safety standards in 49 CFR 571.500;

(29) “Manufacturer” means every person engaged in the business of constructing or assembling vehicles of a type required to be registered at an established place of business in this state;

(30) “Medium speed vehicle” means any four-wheeled electric or gasoline-powered vehicle, excluding golf carts, whose top speed is greater than thirty miles per hour (30 mph) but not more than thirty-five miles per hour (35 mph) and otherwise meets or exceeds the federal safety standards set forth in 49 CFR 571.500;

(31) “Metal tire” means every tire the surface of which in contact with the highway is wholly or partly of metal or other hard, nonresilient material;

(32) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle, including a low speed vehicle or a medium-speed vehicle that is self-propelled, excluding motorized bicycles, and every vehicle, including a low speed vehicle or a medium speed vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails;

(33) “Motorcycle” means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground, including a vehicle that is fully enclosed, has three (3) wheels in contact with the ground, weighs less than one thousand five hundred pounds (1,500 lbs.), and has the capacity to maintain posted highway speed limits, excluding a tractor or motorized bicycle;

(34) “Motor-driven cycle” means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor that produces not to exceed five (5) brake horsepower, or with a motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding one hundred twenty-five cubic centimeters (125cc);

(35) “Motorized bicycle” means a vehicle with two (2) or three (3) wheels, an automatic transmission, and a motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters (50cc) which produces no more than two (2) brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum design speed of no more than thirty miles per hour (30 mph) on level ground. The operator of a motorized bicycle must be in possession of a valid operator’s or chauffeur’s license, and shall be subject to all applicable and practical rules of the road. A motorized bicycle may not be operated on a highway of the interstate and defense highway system, any similar limited access multilane divided highway, or upon sidewalks;

(36) “Official traffic-control devices” means all signs, signals, markings and devices not inconsistent with this chapter and chapter 10, parts 1-5 of this title placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction for the purpose of regulating, warning or guiding traffic;

(37) “Operator” means every person, other than a chauffeur, who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a highway or who is exercising control over or steering a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle;

(38) “Owner” means a person who holds the legal title of a vehicle, or in the event a vehicle is the subject of an agreement for the conditional sale or lease thereof, with the right of purchase upon performance of the conditions stated in the agreement and with an immediate right of possession vested in the conditional vendee or lessee, or in the event a mortgagor of a vehicle is entitled to possession, then the conditional vendee or lessee or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purpose of this chapter and chapter 10, parts 1-5 of this title;

(39) “Park”, when prohibited, means the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading;

(40) “Pedestrian” means any person afoot or using a motorized or non-motorized wheelchair;

(41) “Person” means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association or corporation;

(42) “Pneumatic tire” means every tire in which compressed air is designed to support the load;

(43) “Pole trailer” means every vehicle without motive power designed to be driven by another vehicle and attached to the towing vehicle by means of a reach or pole, or by being boomed or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle, and ordinarily used for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads, such as poles, pipes or structural members capable, generally, of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections;

(44) “Police officer” means every officer authorized to direct or regulate traffic or to make arrests for violations of traffic regulations;

(45) “Private road or driveway” means every way or place in private ownership and used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons;

(46) “Railroad” means a carrier of persons or property upon cars, other than streetcars, operated upon stationary rails;

(47) “Railroad sign or signal” means any sign, signal or device erected by authority of a public body or official or by a railroad and intended to give notice of the presence of railroad tracks or the approach of a railroad train;

(48) “Railroad train” means a steam engine, electric or other motor, with or without cars coupled thereto, operated upon rails, except streetcars;

(49) “Residential district” means the territory contiguous to and including a highway not comprising a business district when the property on the highway for a distance of three hundred feet (300¢) or more is in the main improved with residences;

(50) “Right-of-way” means the privilege of the immediate use of the roadway;

(51) “Road tractor” means every motor vehicle designed and used for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to carry any load thereon either independently or any part of the weight of a vehicle or load so drawn;

(52) “Roadway” means that portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two (2) or more separate roadways, “roadway” refers to any such roadway separately but not to all such roadways collectively;

(53) “Safety zone” means the area or space officially set apart within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and that is protected or is so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone;

(54) “School bus” means every motor vehicle owned by a public or governmental agency and operated for the transportation of children to or from school or privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of children to or from school;

(55) “Semitrailer” means every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that some part of its weight and that of its load rests upon or is carried by another vehicle;

(56) “Sidewalk” means that portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for use of pedestrians;

(57) “Solid tire” means every tire of rubber or other resilient material which does not depend upon compressed air for the support of the load;

(58) “Solid waste vehicle” means any vehicle engaged in the collecting and transporting of municipal solid waste as defined by § 68-211-802, or recyclable materials as defined by § 68-211-802;

(59) “Special mobile equipment” means every vehicle not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property and incidentally operated or moved over the highways, including farm tractors, road construction or maintenance machinery, ditch-digging apparatus, well-boring apparatus and concrete mixers. The foregoing enumeration shall be deemed partial and shall not operate to exclude other vehicles that are within the general terms of this subdivision (58);

(60) “Specially constructed vehicle” means every vehicle of a type required to be registered not originally constructed under a distinctive name, make, model or type by a generally recognized manufacturer of vehicles and not materially altered from its original construction;

(61) “Stop,” when required, means complete cessation from movement;

(62) “Stopping” or “standing,” when prohibited, means any stopping or standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-control sign or signal;

(63) “Street” means the entire width between boundary lines of every way when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel;

(64) “Streetcar” means a car other than a railroad train for transporting persons or property and operated upon rails principally within a municipality;

(65) “Through highway” means every highway or portion of the highway at the entrance to which vehicular traffic from intersecting highways is required by law to stop before entering or crossing the same and when stop signs are erected as provided in this chapter. The department of transportation shall be authorized to designate through highways;

(66) “Trackless trolley coach” means every motor vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires but not operated upon rails;

(67) “Tractor” means any self-propelled vehicle designed or used as a traveling power plant or for drawing other vehicles, but having no provision for carrying loads independently;

(68) “Traffic” means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel;

(69) “Traffic-control signal” means any device, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and to proceed;

(70) “Trailer” means every vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by a motor vehicle and so constructed that no part of its weight rests upon the towing vehicle;

(71) “Truck” means every motor vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property;

(72) “Truck tractor” means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and load so drawn;

(73) “Urban district” means the territory contiguous to and including any street that is built up with structures devoted to business, industry or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than one hundred feet (100¢) for a distance of one-quarter (¼) mile or more; and

(74) “Vehicle” means every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

[Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 1; 1957, ch. 209, § 3; 1959, ch. 34, § 1; 1977, ch. 428, §§ 1-4; 1979, ch. 247, § 6; T.C.A., § 59-801; Acts 1980, ch. 597, § 1; 1982, ch. 850, § 1; 1983, ch. 22, § 2; 1985, ch. 138, § 1; 1986, ch. 804, § 3; 1988, ch. 555, § 1; 1992, ch. 559, § 1; 1992, ch. 784, § 1; 1995, ch. 140, §§ 1, 2; 1996, ch. 620, §§ 1, 2; 1997, ch. 37, § 1; 2000, ch. 606, § 1; 2002, ch. 747, §§ 5, 6; 2006, ch. 731, § 1; 2008, ch. 780, § 1; 2008, ch. 959, §§ 4, 5; 2008, ch. 1144, § 2.]