Speeding Tickets in Tennessee

Read about Tennessee’s speed limits and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Tennessee has two types of speeding laws: “absolute limits” and a “basic speeding law.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.

(Also, check out our articles that discuss the different types of speeding laws and ways of fighting a speeding ticket.)

Absolute Speed Limits

There is no trick to how Tennessee’s absolute speed limits work: If the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, the absolute speed limits are:

  • 15 miles per hour in school zones
  • 65 miles per hour on most state highways and roadways, and
  • 70 miles per hour on controlled-access highways with four or more lanes that are part of the state or interstate highways systems.

(Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-152 (2017).)

Basic Speeding Law

Notwithstanding the absolute limits, Tennessee’s basic speeding law requires motorists to always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it’s dark and the road is icy, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.

(Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-136 (2017).)

Speeding Ticket Costs and Points

The cost of a speeding ticket in Tennessee depends on where the violation occurred and by how much the driver exceeded the speed limit. But generally, a speeding violation will run the driver anywhere from $40 to $150.

Typically, a speeding violation will also add points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.

Reckless Driving and Vehicular Homicide

Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. And if a speeding violation results in the death of another person, it’s possible to be convicted of “vehicular homicide.”

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