How Will This Ticket Affect My Tennessee Driver's License or CDL?

Traffic convictions can lead to suspension of driving privileges, increased insurance rates, and employment problems. The Driver Control Division of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has established point systems for ordinary and commercial drivers. This article outlines the point values and the point system. Beware that in addition to driver's license suspension, traffic convictions can negatively impact insurance rates and your ability to obtain or maintain employment. Additionally, special rules may apply to certain types of drivers. It is therefore advisable to contact an attorney for every traffic citation, even if it seems apparent a conviction will not result in license suspension.

Non-Commercial Vehicles

For non-commercial vehicles, the following point values apply:

  • Speeding (speed not indicated) - 3
  • Speeding (1 to 5 m.p.h. over limit) - 1
  • Speeding (6 to 15 m.p.h. over limit) - 3
  • Speeding (16 to 25 m.p.h. over limit) - 4
  • Speeding (26 to 35 m.p.h. over limit) - 5
  • Speeding (36 to 45 m.p.h. over limit) - 6
  • Speeding (46 or more m.p.h. over limit) - 8
  • Speeding less than posted minimum - 3
  • In a Construction Zone:
    • Speeding (speed not indicated) - 4
    • Speeding (1 to 5 m.p.h. over limit) - 2
    • Speeding (6 to 15 m.p.h. over limit) - 4
    • Speeding (16 to 25 m.p.h. over limit) - 5
    • Speeding (26 to 35 m.p.h. over limit) - 6
    • Speeding (36 or more m.p.h. over limit) - 8
  • Driving Too Fast For Conditions - 3
  • Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid Accident - 3
  • Erratic or Suddenly Changing Speeds - 3
  • Reckless Endangerment by Vehicle (misdemeanor) - 8
  • Reckless Driving - 6
  • Careless or Negligent Driving - 4
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Instructions - 4
  • Improper Passing - 4
  • Wrong-Way or Wrong Side - 4
  • Following Too Closely - 3
  • Following Emergency Vehicle - 3
  • Failure to Yield - 4
  • Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle - 6
  • Improper Turn - 3
  • Failure to Signal - 3
  • Stopping, Standing, Obstructing, or Blocking Traffic - 3
  • Coasting (not in gear) - 3
  • Improper or Careless Backing - 3
  • Improper Starting, Burning Rubber, Spinning Tires, Peeling Out - 3
  • Obstructed View - 3
  • Failure to Control Vehicle - 3
  • Improper Operation of or Riding on a Motorcycle - 3
  • Lane Violation - 3
  • Use of Restricted Access Roadway - 4
  • Failure to Exercise Due Care - 3
  • Miscellaneous Unsafe Violation - 3
  • Crossing Private Property to Avoid Stop or Signal - 4
  • Using Cell Phone (under 18) - 6
  • Passing Stopped School Bus - 8
  • Violating License Restrictions - 6
  • Failure to Stop at Railroad Crossing Where Stop Required - 8
  • Leaving Scene of Accident - 5
  • Failure to Report Accident - 4
  • No Driver's License in Possession - 2
  • Operating With No License or Improper Class - 3
  • Operating on Suspended or Revoked License - 8
  • Fleeing Law Enforcement (misdemeanor) - 8
  • Child Endangerment (misdemeanor) - 8
  • Contributing to Crash Involving Property Damage - 3
  • Contributing to Crash Involving Bodily Injury - 4
  • Contributing to Fatal Crash - 8

Commercial Vehicles

For commercial vehicles, the following point values apply:

  • Speeding (speed not indicated) - 4
  • Excessive Speeding (speed not indicated) - 6
  • Speeding (1 to 5 m.p.h. over limit) - 2
  • Speeding (6 to 14 m.p.h. over limit) - 4
  • Speeding (15 to 25 m.p.h. over limit) - 5
  • Speeding (26 to 35 m.p.h. over limit) - 6
  • Speeding (36 or more m.p.h. over limit) - 7
  • Speeding less than posted minimum - 4
  • In a Construction Zone:
    • Speeding (speed not indicated) - 5
    • Speeding (1 to 5 m.p.h. over limit) - 3
    • Speeding (6 to 25 m.p.h. over limit) - 5
    • Speeding (26 to 35 m.p.h. over limit) - 6
    • Speeding (36 or more m.p.h. over limit) - 7
  • Reckless Driving - 7
  • Careless or Negligent Driving - 5
  • Improper Passing - 4
  • Improper or Erratic Lane Change - 5
  • Following Too Closely - 4
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Instructions - 4
  • Wrong-Way or Wrong Side - 4
  • Failure to Yield - 4
  • Improper Turn - 4
  • Failure to Signal - 3
  • Passing Stopped School Bus - 8
  • Miscellaneous Unsafe Violation - 3
  • Following Emergency Vehicle - 3
  • Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle - 6
  • Operating Improperly Due to Drowsiness - 5
  • Violation of Truck Lane Restriction - 3
  • Driving Without Commercial License - 8
  • Driving Without Commercial License in Possession - 3
  • Operating Without Proper Class or Endorsement - 6
  • Driving While Disqualified or Canceled - 8'
  • While Hauling Hazardous Materials:
    • Speeding (speed not indicated) - 5
    • Speeding (1 to 5 m.p.h. over limit) - 3
    • Speeding (6 to 25 m.p.h. over limit) - 5
    • Speeding (26 to 35 m.p.h. over limit) - 6
    • Speeding (36 or more m.p.h. over limit) - 7
    • Reckless Driving - 8
    • Improper Passing - 5
    • Improper or Erratic Lane Change - 6
    • Following Too Closely - 5
    • Careless or Negligent Driving - 6
    • Failure to Obey Traffic Instructions - 5
    • Wrong Way or Wrong Side - 5
    • Failure to Yield - 5
    • Improper Turn - 5
    • Failure to Signal - 4
    • Passing Stopped School Bus - 8
    • Following Emergency Vehicle - 3
    • Miscellaneous Unsafe Violation - 4
    • Driving While Disqualified or Canceled - 8

The Point System

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security tallies points on your driver's and may ultimately suspend your driving privileges. License suspension may result in any of the following circumstances :

  • 12 points are accumulated within a one year period
  • 6 points are accumulated by a driver under age 18 within a one year period
  • 3 or more "avoidable" accidents within a one year period
  • Failure to appear on a citation (or make payment in lieu of appearance, if permitted)

If you have received a traffic citation, the best way to protect yourself against increased insurance rates, license points/suspension, and negative impacts on your employment is to call an attorney experienced in handling cases like yours.


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