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So you've taken your first step towards becoming a new driver in Tennessee? Congratulations!
As you probably already know, driving is a valuable skill, but can also be extremely dangerous. Therefore, to help new teen drivers develop safe driving habits during their first few years behind the wheel, the State of Tennessee has implemented a graduated driver license program for Tennessee drivers who are under the age of 18.
We’ve summarized a few things you’ll need to know as you begin the process of becoming a licensed driver in Tennessee.
When you turn 15, you may apply for a learners permit in Tennessee.
When you're ready to get your learners permit, go down to the local driver's license office with the following paperwork:
You will need to first take a vision screening test and then the written test. Once you pass, you will be issued a learners permit to drive.
You can apply for your intermediate license after you turn 16, provided you meet the following requirements:
When you're ready, call your local driver's license office and make an appointment to take your road test. If you pass, you will be issued an intermediate license.
After you turn 17 and have had your intermediate license for 1 year with a clean driving record, you may move up to an intermediate unrestricted license. After you turn 18, you may then apply for your regular driver's license.
State law requires that you have at least a certain amount of auto insurance/liability coverage on any vehicle you drive. The minimum amount of liability coverage required in Tennessee is as follows:
Driving without the required amount of auto insurance is a crime. If you are found to be driving while uninsured, you risk losing your license and paying a hefty fine.
Drinking while under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Tennessee, and the law is strictly enforced.
Upon your FIRST Tennessee DUI conviction, you will face the following penalties:
Further DUI convictions will result in even more severe penalties, including extended jail time, fines, community service, and the revocation of your driver's license.
Tennessee law currently prohibits teen-aged drivers from using cell phones while driving (including "hands-free" ones).
And don't even think about text-messaging while drive! Tennessee law strictly prohibits ALL drivers from reading, composing, and sending text-messages while driving an automobile.
For more information on approved drivers education courses available to teen-age drivers in Tennessee, please visit the state's DOS website.