(a) Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals exhibiting the words “Go,” “Caution” or “Stop,” or exhibiting different colored lights successively one (1) at a time, or with arrows, the following colors only shall be used and the terms and lights shall indicate and apply to drivers or vehicles and pedestrians as follows:

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 55-8-110

  • amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • 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
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101

  • Driver: means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101

  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Pedestrian: means any person afoot or using a motorized or non-motorized wheelchair. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Right-of-way: means the privilege of the immediate use of the roadway. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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
  • Roadway: means that portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Streetcar: means a car other than a railroad train for transporting persons or property and operated upon rails principally within a municipality. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Traffic: means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Traffic-control signal: means any device, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and to proceed. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101

(1) Green alone or “Go”:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing the signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time the signal is exhibited; and

(B) Pedestrians facing the signal may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk;

(2) Yellow alone or “Caution,” when shown following the green or “Go” signal:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing the signal is warned that the red or “Stop” signal will be exhibited immediately thereafter and that vehicular traffic shall not enter or cross the intersection when the red or “Stop” signal is exhibited; and

(B) Pedestrians facing the signal are advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway, and any pedestrian then starting to cross shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles;

(3) Red alone or “Stop”:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing the signal shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until green or “Go” is shown alone. A right turn on a red signal shall be permitted at all intersections within the state; provided, that the prospective turning car shall come to a full and complete stop before turning and that the turning car shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and cross traffic traveling in accordance with their traffic signal; provided, further, such turn will not endanger other traffic lawfully using the intersection. A right turn on red shall be permitted at all intersections, except those that are clearly marked by a “No Turns On Red” sign, which may be erected by the responsible municipal or county governments at intersections which they decide require no right turns on red in the interest of traffic safety;

(B) No pedestrian facing such signal shall enter the roadway unless entry can be made safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic; and

(C) A left turn on a red or stop signal shall be permitted at all intersections within the state where a one-way street intersects with another one-way street moving in the same direction into which the left turn would be made from the original one-way street. Before making such a turn, the prospective turning car shall come to a full and complete stop and shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and cross traffic traveling in accordance with the traffic signal so as not to endanger traffic lawfully using the intersection. A left turn on red shall be permitted at any applicable intersection except those clearly marked by a “No Turn on Red” sign, which may be erected by the responsible municipal or county governments at intersections that these governments decide require no left turns on red in the interest of traffic safety;

(4) Red with green arrow:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing this signal may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by the arrow, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection; and

(B) No pedestrian facing the signal shall enter the roadway unless entry can be made safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic;

(5) In the event an official traffic-control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, the provisions of this section shall be applicable except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Any stop required shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made, but in the absence of any sign or marking the stop shall be made at the signal;

(6) The operator of any streetcar shall obey the signals in subdivisions (a)(1)-(5) as applicable to vehicles;

(7) All electric highway, street and road vehicular traffic-control signals in Tennessee shall have a uniform arrangement of the colored lenses in the various signal faces of the signals, as follows: In each signal face, all red lenses in vertical signals shall be located above all yellow and green lenses, and in horizontal signals, to the left of all yellow and green lenses. Yellow lenses shall be located between any red lens or lenses and all other lenses; and

(8) Whenever in this state three-light traffic-control signals are used displaying successively green, yellow, and red lights for the direction of motorists and pedestrians, the minimum time exposure of the yellow light shall be three (3) seconds. Any state agency or any political subdivision of the state that installs, owns, operates, or maintains any such traffic-control signal light shall set or cause to be set the timing-control device for the signal light in compliance with this subdivision (a)(8). No state agency or any political subdivision of the state that installs, owns, operates, or maintains a traffic-control signal light in an intersection that employs a surveillance camera for the enforcement or monitoring of traffic violations shall reduce the time exposure of the yellow light at the intersection with the intended purpose of increasing the number of traffic violations.

(b) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the driver of a motorcycle approaching an intersection that is controlled by a traffic-control signal utilizing a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection and, after exercising due care as provided by law, may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so. It is not a defense to a violation of § Code Sec. 55-8-109″>55-8-109 that the driver of a motorcycle proceeded under the belief that a traffic-control signal utilized a vehicle detection device or was inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle when the signal did not utilize a vehicle detection device or that the device was not in fact inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle.

(c) The driver of any vehicle approaching an intersection that is controlled by a traffic-control signal that is inoperative because of mechanical failure or accident shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection, and may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so; provided, that if two (2) or more vehicles enter such an intersection from different directions at approximately the same time, after having come to full and complete stops, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right. A traffic-control signal shall not be considered inoperative if the signal is operating in flashing mode. If a signal is operating in flashing mode, it shall require obedience by vehicular traffic pursuant to § 55-8-112.

(d) [Deleted by 2008 amendment.]

[Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 9; 1973, ch. 28, § 1; 1973, ch. 40, § 1; 1974, ch. 489, § 1; 1976, ch. 401, § 1; T.C.A., § 59-810; Acts 1982, ch. 684, § 1; 1991, ch. 145, §§ 1, 2; 2003, ch. 266, § 1; 2004, ch. 442, § 2; 2005, ch. 15, § 1; 2007, ch. 447, § 1; 2008, ch. 962, § 2; 2008, ch. 964, § 1.]