Get the Gist of TN Seatbelt Laws

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Deciphering the TN Seatbelt Laws

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reported that in 2020, there were 175,063 car accidents, out of which 5,735 resulted in fatalities or serious injuries. The latter number could’ve been lower if everyone had their seatbelts on.

A safety belt can save your life or help you avoid spending months in a hospital. Learn about TN seatbelt laws, and you can prevent devastating consequences. Buckling up will also save you money since not complying with these laws comes with a fine.

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What Are the Seatbelt Laws in Tennessee?

The law in Tennessee says that drivers and front-seat passengers must be properly buckled up while the vehicle is in forward motion—or they’ll be fined. Both the lap and shoulder belts need to be in place.

The seatbelt law is primary, so the law enforcement officers have the right to pull you over for a failure to wear a seatbelt without any other cause.

Tennessee Seatbelt Law for Backseat Passengers

Adult backseat passengers aren’t required to use a safety belt, but it is recommended that they do so. Wearing a seatbelt in the back can reduce injuries during a car crash.

If the backseat occupants are 17 years old or younger, they must have a seatbelt on. Not abiding by this law will result in a fine.

Child Seatbelt Laws in Tennessee

Drivers are responsible for ensuring that children younger than 16 are properly restrained. In case the parents or guardians are present—even if they’re not driving—they’ll need to pay the fine for non-compliance.

All children who are eight years and younger and shorter than 57 inches can only sit in the back of the vehicle. The restraint system must meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards, or it won’t be valid.

To avoid the ticket for breaking child seatbelt laws, follow these restraint instructions:

Child’s AgeRequired Weight/HeightAppropriate Restraint System
Under oneUnder 20 poundsRear-facing infant seat
One to threeOver 20 poundsForward-facing safety seat
Four to eightUnder 57 inchesBooster seat
Eight to 18At least four feet and nine inchesRegular seatbelt

Tennessee Seatbelt Law Exemptions

The law does exempt the following people from wearing a seatbelt:

  • Vehicle occupants with a medical certificate from a licensed physician about a condition that prevents them from using a safety belt
  • Mechanics or salespeople working for an automobile dealer while they test-drive a vehicle
  • Rural letter carriers during their work hours
  • Utility workers as well as water, gas, and electric meter readers while they operate a vehicle under 40 mph or when they reenter it frequently
  • Newspaper delivery people

How Much You’ll Need To Pay for Violating TN Seatbelt Laws?

If you break any seatbelt law in Tennessee, you’ll need to pay up. The fines are as follows:

Seatbelt ViolationCost
Not wearing a seatbelt—first offense$25
Not wearing a seatbelt—subsequent offenses$50
Failing to properly restraint child passengers$50

Endangering children by not placing them in an appropriate car seat or a seatbelt can have another repercussion. The state may also demand that you attend a class about the risks of not restraining child passengers.

Will the Violation Go on Your Driving Record?

The State of Tennessee uses a point system to keep an eye on the drivers’ moving traffic violations. When you collect a certain number of points, your license can be suspended or revoked.

Not wearing a seatbelt doesn’t fall under the moving violation category, so you won’t get any demerit points. This offense also won’t affect your insurance rates.

What Are Your Options if You Break the TN Seatbelt Law?

If you get a seatbelt in the Volunteer State, here’s what you can do:

  1. Pay your fine in the court that has jurisdiction over your offense
  2. Don’t pay for the ticket, and deal with an increased fine caused by a civil penalty, litigation taxes, court costs, and similar later
  3. Go to court and contest the ticket you received unfairly

The latter is applicable when the officer didn’t notice that you had the seatbelt on or you had a valid reason not to wear it.

Building your argument so it convinces the judge of your innocence isn’t easy. You have the right to do it yourself, but some hire lawyers—which can ultimately cost more than the ticket.

Do you want to skip the hassle of forming your defense? , and take a cost-efficient shortcut to a convincing ticket appeal!

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Our nifty app can put together a strong appeal letter in less than three minutes. It only takes a click here and there, and you’ll finish the whole process without stress or hassle.

Take four simple steps to get your appeal ready:

  1. Search for the Seatbelt Ticket tool
  2. Upload a picture of your citation
  3. Tell us about:
    1. Who got the ticket
    2. What argument you have
    3. When the ticket was issued
    4. Whether you have any evidence to support your argument

Based on your answers, we’ll personalize the appeal and mail it to TN authorities in your stead. DoNotPay’s assistance doesn’t end here. Whenever you hit the road, you can turn to our state-specific guides for a bird’s-eye view of the seatbelt laws.

Revise the safety regulations in Utah, Texas, or any other state here:

ColoradoNew York StateIndiana
PennsylvaniaNew JerseyArizona
CaliforniaNorth CarolinaFlorida
MaineSouth CarolinaMassachusetts
NevadaOhioWest Virginia
Rhode IslandMichiganKentucky
New MexicoNew HampshireHawaii
District of ColumbiaNorth DakotaAlaska
ArkansasSouth DakotaWashington State

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