(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).

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 55-8-152

  • answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • 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. See 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 safety. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Department: means the department of safety. 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
  • jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • 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. 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
  • Person: means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association or corporation. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • presiding officer: A majority-party Senator who presides over the Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing Members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents.
  • recess: A temporary interruption of the legislative business.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Truck: means every motor vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property. 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

(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:

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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 § Code Sec. 55-8-153″>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.]