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Are There Driver’s License Restrictions for Teens in Tennessee?

 Posted on March 27,2020 in Traffic Violations

Anderson County traffic violation attorney

Sitting in the passenger seat with a new driver can make a short drive feel like a rollercoaster ride. Their inexperience on the road can lead to many close calls and unintentional traffic violations. Recognizing this danger, many states implement restrictions on new drivers’ licenses to give young motorists the driving experience they need while also limiting their freedom for safety purposes. What many students may not realize is that there are different levels of licenses, each of which comes with its own regulations. These restrictions may seem minimal as a new driver, but breaking them can lead to traffic violations and legal consequences moving forward.

What Are the Different License Levels?

There are four license levels recognized in the state of Tennessee, and each has its own restrictions:

  1. Learner Permit (PD): Though this may not be considered a full-fledged driver’s license, a learner permit allows those at least 15 years of age to drive. Anyone who has a learner permit must be accompanied by a licensed driver in the front seat who is 21 years or older at all times. These drivers are not allowed to drive after 10 pm or before 6 am. Every passenger, regardless of their place in the car, must wear a seatbelt while the car is in motion. As is true with every level of driver in Tennessee, cell phone use is prohibited.

  2. Intermediate Restricted License (IR): Those who have held a valid learner permit for 180 days and are at least 16 years old may obtain an intermediate restricted license. These drivers may have one passenger in the car at a time, and drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt. These drivers are granted a later curfew than learner permit holders and are able to drive until 11 pm. However, they are still restricted from driving before 6 am.

  3. Intermediate Unrestricted License (IU): Once a driver reaches the age of 17 and has had a valid intermediate restricted license for at least a year, he or she will be granted an intermediate unrestricted license. This type of license is only for those under the age of 21. These drivers no longer have the occupancy restrictions, and their curfew is removed; however, due to alcohol laws, these drivers cannot have any alcohol in their system while driving.

  4. Regular Class D Driver License: When a driver turns 18 years old, he or she obtains the final license level — the Regular Class D license. There are no additional freedoms granted to these drivers aside from noting that they are no longer a minor. A driver who is under 21 is still prohibited from having any alcohol in his or her system while driving, even if this amount is below 0.08 percent

Call a Knox County Traffic Violations Defense Lawyer

All new drivers under the age of 18 have to go through the different license levels before obtaining a full-fledged driver’s license. It is important to note these various regulations to avoid being issued a traffic violation on a restricted license. The legal consequences can vary, although it often includes extending the required time on a restricted license before being able to obtain the Class D license. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, works to help all those motorists who have been issued a traffic violation avoid serious legal consequences. If you are a restricted driver, and you were issued a traffic ticket, call our Knoxville, TN criminal defense attorneys at 865-281-1000 to schedule a free consultation.


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