Part 1 . Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law of 1977 55-12-101 – 55-12-141
Part 2 Insurance Verification Program (“James Lee Atwood Jr. Law”) 55-12-201 – 55-12-215
Part 3 Car Sharing Program Insurance Coverage [Effective on January 1, 2021] 55-12-301 – 55-12-311

Terms Used In Tennessee Code > Title 55 > Chapter 12 - Financial Responsibility

  • ADS: means technology installed on a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed in high or full automation mode, without any supervision by a human operator, with specific driving mode performance by the automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task that can be managed by a human driver, including the ability to automatically bring the motor vehicle into a minimal risk condition in the event of a critical vehicle or system failure or other emergency event. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • ADS-operated vehicle: means a vehicle equipped with an automated driving system. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Autocycle: means an autocycle as defined in § 55-1-103. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
  • Bail: Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his/her appearance on the day and time appointed.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Bond: means irrevocable bond executed by a corporate surety company licensed to do business as a corporate surety company in this state, with penalties of like amounts as those pertaining to an insurance policy or the amount of damages suffered, whichever is less, the bond to guarantee the payment of any final judgment which might thereafter be rendered against the bonded party resulting from the accident up to and including the total amount of the bond, except the bond may specify a limited payment to those persons who have at the time of its execution filed claims with the commissioner, and shall contain a clause therein that it shall remain in force for one (1) year from the date of the accident or until final determination of any court action brought as a result of the accident, whichever may be the longer period of time. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
  • Car sharing delivery period: means the period of time during which a shared vehicle is being delivered to the location of the car sharing start time, if applicable, as documented by the governing car sharing program agreement. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
  • Car sharing period: means the period of time:
    1. That commences with the car sharing delivery period and ends at the car sharing termination time. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
    2. Car sharing start time: means the time when the shared vehicle becomes subject to the control of the shared vehicle driver at or after the time the reservation of a shared vehicle is scheduled to begin as documented in the records of a peer-to-peer car sharing program. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
    3. Car sharing termination time: means the earliest of the following events:
      1. The expiration of the agreed upon period of time established for the use of a shared vehicle according to the terms of the car sharing program agreement if the shared vehicle is delivered to the location agreed upon in the car sharing program agreement. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
      2. carrier: means an insurance carrier licensed under title 56 to provide vehicle insurance, as defined in § 56-2-201, in this state. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
      3. 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
      4. 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
      5. Commercial automobile coverage: means any coverage provided to an insured, regardless of the number of vehicles or entities covered, under a commercial coverage form and rated from a commercial manual approved by the department of commerce and insurance. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
      6. Commissioner: means the commissioner of revenue. See Tennessee Code 55-1-111
      7. Commissioner: means the commissioner of safety, unless otherwise indicated or unless the context otherwise requires. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
      8. Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
      9. Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
      10. Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
      11. Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
      12. Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
      13. Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
      14. Designated agent: means a third-party vendor that the department of revenue may contract with to develop, implement, and administer the program. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
      15. Driver: means :
        1. For purposes of a conventionally operated vehicle, every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
        2. Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
        3. Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
        4. Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
        5. Full book of business: means a business record download of an automobile liability insurer made in accordance with IICMVA Insurance Data Transfer Guide Specifications that contains the data elements described in § 55-12-207(c)(1). See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
        6. Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
        7. 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
        8. Hospital: means a public or private hospital or facility or part of a hospital or facility equipped to provide inpatient care and treatment for persons with mental illness or serious emotional disturbance. See Tennessee Code 33-1-101
        9. IICMVA: means the Insurance Industry Committee on Motor Vehicle Administration. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
        10. IICMVA Model: means the online insurance verification system model created by the IICMVA. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
        11. Indemnification: In general, a collateral contract or assurance under which one person agrees to secure another person against either anticipated financial losses or potential adverse legal consequences. Source: FDIC
        12. Judgment: means any judgment that shall have become final by expiration without appeal of the time within which an appeal might have been perfected, or by final affirmation on appeal, rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction of any state or of the United States, upon a cause of action arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle, for damages, including damages for care and loss of services, because of bodily injury to or death of any person, or for damages because of injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
        13. 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.
        14. Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
        15. License: means any license, temporary instruction permit, or temporary license issued under the laws of this state, or any other state, pertaining to the licensing of persons to operate motor vehicles within this state. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
        16. Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
        17. Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
        18. Mental illness: means a psychiatric disorder, alcohol dependence, or drug dependence, but does not include intellectual disability or other developmental disabilities. See Tennessee Code 33-1-101
        19. Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
        20. Month: means a calendar month. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
        21. Mortgagor: The person who pledges property to a creditor as collateral for a loan and who receives the money.
        22. Motor vehicle: means every vehicle, including a low speed vehicle or a medium speed vehicle that is self-propelled, excluding electric scooters, electric bicycles as defined in §55-8-301, motorized bicycles, personal delivery devices, 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
        23. Motor vehicle: means every self-propelled vehicle that is designed for use upon the highway, including trailers and semitrailers designed for use with motor vehicles, and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead wires but not operated upon rails, except traction engines, road rollers and farm tractors. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
        24. Motor vehicle liability policy: means an "owner's policy" or "operator's policy" of liability insurance, certified as provided in § 55-12-120 or § 55-12-121 as proof of financial responsibility, and issued, except as otherwise provided in § 55-12-121 by an insurance carrier duly licensed or admitted to transact business in this state, to or for the benefit of the person named therein as insured. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
        25. NAIC: means the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
        26. Nonresident: means every person who is not a resident of this state. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
        27. Operator: means :

          For purposes of a conventionally operated vehicle, 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

        28. Operator: means :
          1. For purposes of a conventionally operated vehicle, every person who is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle whether or not licensed as an operator or chauffeur under the laws of this state. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
          2. 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. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
          3. Owner: means a person who holds the legal title of a motor vehicle, or in the event a motor 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, lessee or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purpose of this part. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
          4. Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
          5. Person: means a natural person, firm, copartnership, association, corporation, or an engaged ADS. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
          6. Person: includes a corporation, firm, company or association. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
          7. Platoon: means a group of individual motor vehicles that are traveling in a unified manner at electronically coordinated speeds. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
          8. Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
          9. Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
          10. program: means an insurance verification program that is created in compliance with the online verification system and data transfer standards, specifications, model, and guide of the IICMVA, and developed, implemented, and administered by the department of revenue in compliance with this part. See Tennessee Code 55-12-203
          11. proof of financial security: means :
              1. If proof is required after December 31, 1989, but prior to January 1, 2009, such proof means:
          1. A written proof of liability insurance coverage provided by a single limit policy with a limit of not less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) applicable to one (1) accident. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
          2. Property: includes both personal and real property. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
          3. Qualified mental health professional: means a person who is licensed in the state, if required for the profession, and who is a psychiatrist. See Tennessee Code 33-1-101
          4. Record: means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in a perceivable form. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
          5. Registration: means a registration certificate or certificates and registration plates issued under the laws of this state pertaining to the registration of motor vehicles. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
          6. Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
          7. Rental car company: means a business engaged in the rental of motor vehicles that is subject to title 67, chapter 4, part 19, and not a peer-to-peer car sharing program. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
          8. 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
          9. Serious emotional disturbance: means a condition in a child who currently or at any time during the past year has had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet psychiatric diagnostic criteria that results in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits the child's role or functioning in family, school, or community activities and includes any mental disorder, regardless of whether it is of biological etiology. See Tennessee Code 33-1-101
          10. Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
          11. Shared vehicle driver: means an individual who has been authorized to drive the shared vehicle by the shared vehicle owner under a car sharing program agreement. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
          12. Shared vehicle owner: means the registered owner, or a person or entity designated by the registered owner, of a vehicle made available for sharing to shared vehicle drivers through a peer-to-peer car sharing program. See Tennessee Code 55-12-301
          13. signed: includes a mark, the name being written near the mark and witnessed, or any other symbol or methodology executed or adopted by a party with intention to authenticate a writing or record, regardless of being witnessed. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
          14. State: means any state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any province of the Dominion of Canada. See Tennessee Code 55-12-102
          15. 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
          16. Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
          17. 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
          18. 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
          19. Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
          20. United States: includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
          21. 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
          22. Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
          23. written: includes printing, typewriting, engraving, lithography, and any other mode of representing words and letters. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
          24. Year: means a calendar year, unless otherwise expressed. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105