As of January 1, 2016, there are a few new laws in effect that have an impact on Tennessee drivers. While some are meant to help drivers out and others are meant to catch violators, all drivers should be aware of them so that they can act accordingly.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that fines for seat belt violations have more than doubled and have been increased from $10 to $25. Repeat offenders will be subject to fines ranging from $20 to $50. In 2015, state troopers issued more than 107,000 seat belt citations and there were more than 300 fatalities resulting from people who were not wearing seat belts. Experts hope that the increased fines will encourage drivers to wear their seat belts and will reduce the number of citations and deaths.

In addition, WSMV-TV Nashville advises that while previously Tennessee drivers had to renew their licenses every five years, beginning in 2016 they will only have to do so every eight years. This change is for all classes of driver's licenses, including commercial and motorcycle licenses, and should convenience drivers by resulting in shorter wait times at the state's driver service centers.

While it continues to be illegal to drive without liability insurance in Tennessee, those who do so may now be caught even before they are involved in an accident. DMV clerks are now required to verify a driver's insurance before issuing or renewing the car's tags. Additionally, if a driver is pulled over and is unable to provide proof of insurance, law enforcement officers can now have the car towed on the spot.


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