Speed

55-8-152. Speed limits - Penalties.
 (a)  Except as provided in subsection (c), it is unlawful for any person to operate or drive a motor vehicle upon any highway or public road of this state in excess of sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph). 
 (b)  "Truck," as used in this section, means any motor vehicle of one and one-half (1 1/2) ton rated capacity or more. 
 (c)  On all controlled-access highways with four (4) or more lanes, which are designated as being on the state system of highways or the state system of interstate highways, it is unlawful for any person to operate or drive a motor vehicle or a truck at a rate of speed in excess of seventy miles per hour (70 mph). In the left-hand lane of all controlled-access highways with four (4) or more lanes, which are designated as being on the state system of highways or the state system of interstate highways, it is unlawful for any person to operate or drive a motor vehicle at a rate of speed less than fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph). 
 (d) (1) (A)  Except as provided for certain counties in subdivision (d)(2), counties and municipalities are authorized to establish special speed limits upon any highway or public road of this state within their jurisdiction, except at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways, which is adjacent to school grounds that are devoted primarily to normal school day activity. Such speed limit shall be enacted based on an engineering investigation, shall not be less than fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) and shall be in effect only when proper signs are posted with a warning flasher or flashers in operation and only while children are actually present. 
 (B) In any county or municipality where the local legislative body does not establish special speed limits as provided for above, any person who shall drive at a speed exceeding fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) when passing a school during a recess period when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, or during a period of ninety (90) minutes before the opening hour of a school or a period of ninety (90) minutes after the closing hour of a school, while children are actually going to or leaving school, shall be prima facie guilty of reckless driving. 
 (C) The department of transportation has the authority to establish such special speed limits at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways. 
 (2) In counties of not less than forty-three thousand seven hundred (43,700) nor more than forty-three thousand eight hundred (43,800) and counties of not less than one hundred forty-three thousand (143,000) nor more than one hundred forty-five thousand (145,000) and counties of not less than four hundred seventy-seven thousand eight hundred (477,800) nor more than four hundred seventy-seven thousand nine hundred (477,900)  according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, counties and municipalities are authorized to establish special speed limits upon any highway or public road of this state within their jurisdiction, except at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways, which is adjacent to or within one-fourth (1/4) mile of school grounds that are devoted to normal school day activities. Such speed limit shall be enacted based on an engineering investigation and shall not be less than fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) and shall be in effect only when proper signs are posted with a warning flasher or flashers in operation. In any county or municipality where the local legislative body does not establish special speed limits as provided for above, any person who drives at a speed exceeding fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) when passing a school during a recess period when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, or during a period of forty (40) minutes before the opening hour of a school or a period of forty (40) minutes after the closing hour of a school, while children are actually going to or leaving school, is prima facie guilty of reckless driving. The department of transportation has the authority to establish such special speed limits at school entrances and exits to and from controlled access highways on the system of state highways. 
 (e) (1)  The fees of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other police officers, other than salaried officers, for making arrests for violations of the speed restrictions of this chapter, shall be one dollar ($1.00). 
 (2) The reference to sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other police officers in this subsection (e) also includes constables in counties of this state having a population of: 
 
   not less than                                            nor more than
    ------------                                            -------------
         3,700                                                  4,700
         6,000                                                  7,800
         8,400                                                  8,500
         8,535                                                  8,540
         9,200                                                  9,570
        10,770                                                 10,780
        11,512                                                 11,550
        11,700                                                 11,900
        12,000                                                 13,000
        14,500                                                 14,600
        15,300                                                 15,500
        15,750                                                 16,000
        17,000                                                 17,350
        18,000                                                 18,200
        18,300                                                 18,900
        19,000                                                 19,100
        21,000                                                 21,500
        21,600                                                 22,300
        23,200                                                 23,350
        23,355                                                 23,391
        23,391                                                 23,450
        23,500                                                 23,750
        24,000                                                 24,255
        25,600                                                 27,500
        27,900                                                 28,000
        28,555                                                 28,600
        29,250                                                 31,250
        31,260                                                 33,000
        33,700                                                 34,000
        35,480                                                 41,800
        41,900                                                 50,000
        57,550                                                 59,400
        59,500                                                 60,050
        60,600                                                 62,000
        64,000                                                 65,000
       101,000                                                118,400
       118,700                                                200,000

 according to the 1960 federal census or any subsequent federal census, and Fentress and Hamblen Counties. 
 
 (f) (1) (A)  Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, the department is authorized to lower the speed limits prescribed in this section, and on the state system of roads and highways, as it deems appropriate due to concerns regarding the roadway, traffic, or other conditions. Such authorization to reduce the speed limits set by this section shall be in addition to the authority conveyed by § 55-8-153. 
 (B) When the department shall determine that it is necessary to reduce the speed limits set in subsection (a), the commissioner shall so indicate the reduced speed limit via a letter of policy statement, and the commissioner shall cause signs indicating the new speed limit to be erected. 
 (C) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the municipalities of the state are hereby authorized to set speed limits on the public roads and streets within their jurisdiction and not a part of the interstate and national defense highway system nor any access controlled highway on the state road and highway system. In addition, the counties of this state are hereby authorized to set speed limits on the public roads and highways within their jurisdiction and not a part of the interstate or state highway system. The speed limits for both municipalities and counties shall not exceed fifty-five  miles per hour (55 mph). 
 (2) Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, during the period in which this subsection (f) is in effect, any person who is arrested or receives a traffic citation for driving or operating a motor vehicle in excess of fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph) but less than seventy-five miles per hour (75 mph) on a highway of the interstate and defense highway system or a four-lane controlled-access highway which are federal or state highways, or in excess of fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph) or less than sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph) on a highway or road which has an existing speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph) as of March 1, 1974, shall be charged with speeding and upon conviction shall not be fined more than the maximum fine nor less than the minimum fine for speeding as provided by law for such violation, nor shall any costs be imposed or assessed against such person. Costs shall be imposed in such cases should such person fail to appear or answer the traffic citation as required by law. Such conviction shall not be reported to the department of safety under the provisions of §§ 55-10-306 and 55-12-115. Such person shall not be required to attend driver education course as provided in § 55-10-301. Such conviction for speeding shall not result in suspension or revocation of operator's or chauffeur's license unless the excess speed is such as to constitute reckless driving, as set out herein. This subsection (f) shall not apply to trucks as defined in subsection (b) when traveling in excess of sixty-five miles per hour (65 mph) on all highways of the interstate and defense highway system and four-laned controlled-access highways, which are federal or state routes of this state or when traveling in excess of fifty-five miles per hour (55 mph) on any other highways of this state. A violation of this subsection (f) is a Class C misdemeanor. However, notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, a violation of the reduced speed limits set by the department of transportation, pursuant to § 55-8-153, is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by fine only, when employees of the department or construction workers are present. The amount of the fine imposed pursuant to § 55-8-153 shall not be less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500). Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection (f) to the contrary, no provision of this subsection (f), nor of § 55-8-153, shall be construed so as to prevent the entry of a suspended sentence upon the conviction of a defendant for the first violation of the enhanced penalties provided for when the violation occurs within a work zone and when employees of the department of transportation or construction workers are present and when the trier of fact determines that extraordinary circumstances lead to the violation. 
 (g) (1)  Notwithstanding any provision of the law to the contrary, any county having a population of not less than sixty-seven thousand five hundred (67,500) nor more than sixty-seven thousand six hundred (67,600) according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census may assess any person who is arrested or receives a traffic citation for driving or operating a motor vehicle in excess of the posted speed limits an additional fine of five dollars ($5.00). Such fine shall be in addition to any fine assessed under this or any other applicable section. 
 (2) Fines collected pursuant to subdivision (g)(1) shall be placed in a fund to be established by such county. Such fund shall be for the sole purpose of erecting and maintaining highway signs. 
 (3) This subsection (g) shall have no effect unless it is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislative body of any county to which it may apply. Its approval or nonapproval shall be proclaimed by the presiding officer of the county legislative body and certified by the presiding officer to the secretary of state. 
 (h)  Notwithstanding any provision of law or regulation to the contrary, only the department of transportation has the authority to set speed limits on access-controlled roadways designated as being on the state system of highways and on roadways designated as being on the state system of interstate highways. 

 [Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 51; 1965, ch. 94, § 1; 1969, ch. 160, § 3; 1969, ch. 319, §§ 3, 4; 1970, ch. 456, § 1; 1970, ch. 496, § 1; 1970, ch. 588, §§ 1, 2; 1971, ch. 53, §§ 1-3; 1971, ch. 231, §§ 1, 2; 1972, ch. 530, § 1; 1972, ch. 584, § 1; 1973, ch. 214, § 1; 1973, ch. 389, § 1; 1974, ch. 457, § 1; 1974, ch. 631, §§ 1, 2; 1974, ch. 797, § 1; 1975, ch. 356, § 1; Private Acts 1976, ch. 242, § 1; Private Acts 1976, ch. 293; Acts 1977, ch. 239, § 6; 1977, ch. 278, § 1; T.C.A., § 59-852; Acts 1981, ch. 39, § 1; 1982, ch. 881, § 1; 1987, ch. 313, §§ 1-3; 1988, ch. 762, §§ 1, 2; 1988, ch. 832, § 1; 1989, ch. 299, §§ 1-3; 1989, ch. 591, § 113; 1991, ch. 9, § 5; 1991, ch. 415, § 7; 1992, ch. 973, § 4; 1993, ch. 34, §§ 1, 2; Private Acts 1994, ch. 191, § 3; Acts 1995, ch. 389, § 1; 1996, ch. 553, § 3; 1996, ch. 609, § 1; 1996, ch. 753, § 3; 1996, ch. 793, § 1; 1998, ch. 654, § 1; 1998, ch. 671, § 1; 2000, ch. 967, § 1; 2001, ch. 221, § 1; 2001, ch. 252, §§ 1, 2; 2002, ch. 505, § 1.]

 

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