Home » Tennessee DMV Driver’s Handbook Part 1

Tennessee DMV Driver’s Handbook Part 1

Section A.

This section is designed for all current and potential drivers in Tennessee. It provides information that all drivers will find useful. Section A consists of pages 1 through 24. This section will help new and experienced drivers alike get ready for initial, renewal, and other license applications by explaining:

  • the different types of licenses available
  • the documentation and other requirements for license applications
  • details on Intermediate Driver Licenses and how this graduated driver license works for driver license applicants under age 18
  • basic descriptions of the tests required to obtain a Driver License

Section B.

This section is designed to help new drivers study and prepare for the required knowledge and skills for an operator license. It includes helpful practice test questions at the end of each chapter. Section B consists of pages 25 through 90.

This section of the manual provides information related to:

  • Examination requirements for the vision, knowledge and road tests
  • Traffic signs, signals, and lane markings
  • Basic Rules of the Road
  • Being a responsible driver and knowing the dangers and penalties of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and drugs.

Section C.

This section provides information and safety tips to improve the knowledge of all highway users to minimize the likelihood of a crash and the consequences of those that do occur. This section consists of pages 91-117. It also provides information about sharing the road with other methods of transportation, which have certain rights and privileges on the highways which drivers must be aware of and respect.

It is important to read this information and learn what you can do to stay safe, and keep your family safe, on the streets, roads and highways of our great state.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Section A. Chapter 1 Your License

Section A. Chapter 2 Applying For Your License

Section A. Chapter 3 Intermediate Licenses For Drivers Under 18 – Graduated License Procedures

Section A. Chapter 4 The Examinations

Section B. Chapter 1 Getting Familiar With Your Vehicle

Section B. Chapter 2 Tennessee Safety Belt Laws

Section B. Chapter 3 Traffic Signs and Signals

  • Traffic Signs
  • Sign Shapes and Colors
  • Color Codes On Highway Traffic Signs
  • Temporary Traffic Control Zones
  • Octagon Shape – Stop
  • Triangular Shape – Yield
  • Round Shape – Railroad Ahead
  • Broad “X” Shape – Railroad Here
  • Diamond Shape – Hazardous Or Unusual Condition Ahead
  • Rectangular Shape – Special Laws, Regulations or Important Information
  • Regulatory Signs
  • Warning Signs – Diamond Shape (Yellow)
  • Work Area Signs
    • Construction Signs
    • Channeling Devices
    • Highway Flaggers
    • Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) Emblem
    • Object Marker
  • Guide Signs for Highways
  • Interstate Route Marker
  • Guide Signs on Interstates
  • Service Signs
  • Handicap Symbol
  • Directional Signs
  • Emergency Reference Markers
  • Traffic Signals
    • Red
    • Yellow
    • Green
    • Protected Arrows
    • Permissive Arrows
    • Malfunctioning Traffic Light
  • Pedestrian Signals
    • “Walk”
    • “Don’t Walk”
    • Lane Control Signals
  • General Principles of Pavement Lane Markings
    • Uniform Highway Markings
    • Edge and Lane Lines
    • Crosswalks
    • Stop Lines
    • High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes
    • Turn Lane Arrow
    • White Crossbuck with RR
    • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 4 Rules of the Road

  • Some Basic Rules
  • Use of Headlights
  • Emergency Flashers
  • Littering
  • Slow-Moving Vehicles
  • Funeral Procession
  • The Basic Speed Rule
  • Tennessee Speed Laws
    • Interstate Speed Limits
    • Rural Interstate Limits
    • Urban Interstate Limits
  • Work Zone Crashes
  • Braking, Following and Stopping Distances
  • The Two Second Rule
  • Stops Required by Law
  • Stopping for Railroad Crossings
  • The School Bus Stop Law
  • Stopping for Police Vehicles
  • Intersections
    • Approaching Intersections Safely
    • The Right-Of-Way Procedures
    • Turning
    • Signaling a Turn
    • Making Turns
    • Left Turns
    • Right Turns
    • Special Turns: Roundabouts and U-Turns
  • Traffic Lanes and Lane Usage
  • Passing Other Vehicles
  • Passing Bicycles
  • Backing and Parking
    • Backing
    • Parking
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 5 Interstate Driving

  • Interstate Highway Driving is Different
  • Entering the Interstate
  • Driving on the Interstate
  • Leaving/Exiting the Interstate
  • Interchanges
  • Special Interstate Driving Instructions
  • Dealing with Traffic Congestion
  • Move Over Law
  • Vehicle Breakdowns, Crashes and Emergency Stopping
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 6 Driving at Night and in Inclement Weather Conditions

  • Driving At Night
  • Driving in Inclement Weather Conditions
  • High Water and Flooding Dangers
  • Driving in Winter Weather Conditions

Section B. Chapter 7 Alcohol, Other Drugs and Driving

  • Impaired Driving
    • Alcohol and You
    • An Overview of the Effects of Alcohol
    • How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
    • What is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)?
  • Relationship of Alcohol to Traffic Crashes
  • Alcohol’s Effects on Driving Ability
    • Judgment
    • Vision
    • Reaction Time and Coordination
    • Alertness and Concentration
  • “Every Day” Drugs
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Implied Consent Law
  • Consequences of a DUI Arrest
  • Penalties Applying to any DUI Conviction
  • Young Driver Risks and Laws
  • Prevention of Drinking and Driving
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 8 Driving Responsibility

  • Problem Driver Pointer System
  • Losing Your Privilege to Drive
  • Hearings
  • Non-Resident Violator Compact
  • Reinstatements
  • Driver Improvement Program
  • Frequent Traffic Violations
  • Restricted Driver License
  • Points for Moving Traffic Violations and Crashes Table
    1. DUI.
    2. DriverImprovement
    3. Implied Consent
    4. Juvenile
    5. Failure to Satisfy a Citation
  • Physical Or Mental Disabilities
  • Re-Examination of Drivers
  • Financial Responsibility
  • Reporting Crashes
  • Traffic Crashes
    • If You Are Involved in a Crash – STOP!
    • If You Arrive First At a Crash Scene
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions
  • Study Questions Answer Key

Section C. Chapter 1 Defensive Driving and Road Rage

  • Safety Tips for Safe Driving and Sharing the Road
  • Concentration and Alertness are Important Elements
  • Drive Cautiously
  • Scanning the Road and Traffic for Defensive Reactions
  • Sharing a Safe Driving Space
  • Road Rage

Section C. Chapter 2 Special Driving Conditions and Your Vehicle

  • Avoiding Collisions
  • Collisions with Animals
  • The Driver, the Vehicle, and Road Important Facts
  • Maintenance Needs for a Safe Vehicle
  • Vehicle Tires
  • Vehicle Steering
  • Understanding Road and Traffic Conditions

Section C. Chapter 3 Sharing the Road Safely

  • Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
  • Your Role as a Pedestrian
  • Safety Tips for Pedestrians
  • Sharing the Road with Bicycles
  • Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
  • Driver Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
  • Safety Tips for Motorcycles
  • Safety Tips for Car Drivers
  • Sharing the Road with Large Trucks and Buses
  • Risky Situations with Large Vehicles
  • Learn the “NO-ZONES” for large vehicles
  • Sharing the Road with School Buses
  • Sharing the Road with Slow Moving vehicles and Equipment
  • Sharing the Road with Highway Work Zones
  • Sharing the Road with Trains
  • If your Vehicle Stalls on the Train Tracks
  • Emergency Notification System for Vehicle Stuck on Train Tracks
  • Safety Tips for 15-Passenger Vans
  • Safety Tips for Recreational Vehicles (RVs)

Section C. Chapter 4 Helping Teens and New Drivers Learn to Drive

  • A SAFE Attitude for Driving and Learning
  • Planning Safe and Informative Practice Sessions
  • Reference Tools to Consider
  • Driving Contracts
  • Helping Non-English Speaking Beginners
  • A Special Final Word to Parents

Graduated Driver License Driving Experience Log


Section A-1 YOUR LICENSE

Determining Which Class Of License You Need

Who Needs a Tennessee Driver License?

If you live in Tennessee and want to drive a motor vehicle, you must have a valid Tennessee driver license or Temporary Driver License (TDL).

A person who moves to Tennessee and has a valid driver license from another state or country must apply for a Tennessee driver license (or TDL) if they:

  • live in Tennessee longer than 30 days OR
  • are working in Tennessee OR
  • would otherwise qualify as a registered Tennessee voter.

WHAT CLASS OF LICENSE DO YOU NEED?

In Tennessee, driver licenses and Temporary Driver Licenses are issued specifically for the class and type of vehicle you operate. The class of license you need depends on the type of vehicle you operate and why you use your vehicle.

The chart on page A1 and the discussion below should help determine which class of driver license is needed, as well as whether or not any special endorsements are needed.

Class D License

Driver license applicants who will be operators of regular passenger vehicles, pick-up trucks, or vans need a Class D license. This handbook provides the information you need to get a Class D license.

  • A Class D license is required to operate any vehicle, up to a maximum weight of 26,000 pounds. Vehicles that are under 26,000 pounds cannot be operated with a Class D license if the vehicle is (a) transporting hazardous materials, (b) transporting sixteen (16 or more passengers (including the driver), or (c) used as a school bus. (If the vehicle is used for any of these purposes, a Class C license is required.)

To qualify for a Class D license, you must be at least sixteen (16) years of age, and must pass a vision screening, knowledge test, and driving test. If you are under age 18, you must also meet special qualifications for the Intermediate Class D license. (Graduated Driver License Program – See Chapter A3.)

Class D with F (For-Hire Endorsement)

If a person’s main job is to drive or transport persons, or transport property in a Class D vehicle, a For Hire endorsement must be added to the Class D license.

The Class D license with a For-Hire endorsement serves as a bridge between the regular driver license required for private transportation and the commercial driver license required for tractor-trailers, large trucks, buses and the like. Examples of persons whose job requires them to have the For-Hire endorsement include:

Persons – Taxi, shuttle service drivers, ambulance drivers, etc.

Property – Couriers, delivery services (flowers, pizza, etc.)

The chart on page 1 and the discussion below should help determine which class of driver license is needed, as well as whether or not any special endorsements are needed.

Persons hired for some purpose other than driving but drive in the course of doing their job, generally do not need this endorsement. Examples of persons that normally do not need a for-hire endorsement are plumbers, meter readers, and engineers. While they are driving in the course of their business, their main job is not to drive or transport people or property.

NOTE: Although you may not be required by law to have the For-Hire endorsement, your employer may require you to obtain this endorsement for insurance or safety requirements.

To add the For-Hire endorsement, drivers must meet the eligibility requirements, pass the appropriate tests, and pay a fee of $4.50. Applicants are eligible to apply for this endorsement if:

  • They are at least eighteen years old, or sixteen (16) years of age if the vehicle the applicant is hired to drive is owned by the applicant’s family business to conduct deliveries of goods and products exclusively for the family business.
  • They will be operating a Class D vehicle.
  • They have 2 years of unrestricted driving experience. For-Hire endorsement applicants must pass a vision screening, and a knowledge test designed specifically for the For-Hire Endorsement. The knowledge test uses information from Section B of this manual.

CLASS M (MOTORCYCLE)

The operator of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle/scooter will need to apply for a Class M license. These two and three-wheeled vehicles are categorized by cylinder capacity and other design features. Generally, if the vehicle is over 125 cubic centimeters, a Class M license is needed; if the vehicle is under 125 cubic centimeters, a Class M limited license is needed.

Class M licenses may be issued as a single license, or along with another primary class. For example, if a driver wishes to be able to operate both a motorcycle and a Class D vehicle, Class DM license is required.

Applicants wishing to apply for a Class M license should obtain and read the Motorcycle Operator Manual in addition to this manual. The Commercial Driver License manual is online at: tn.gov/safety.

“Off-road” motor vehicles cannot be used for the road test. In fact, “off-road” motor vehicles or All-terrain Vehicles (ATVs) may not be driven on any Tennessee/Federal highways/interstate roads. Legally this type of vehicle can only cross roadways by taking ninety-degree (90 degree) angles and must not directly cross any road/highway/interstate.

Class A, B, or C – Commercial Driver Licenses –

Operators of larger and more complex vehicles weighing 26,001 or more pounds will need to apply for a Commercial Driver License (CDL). These licenses include Class A, B, and C depending upon the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and what is being transported.

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) require a CDL. A CMV is a vehicle or combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds. Smaller vehicles require a CDL if they are used to transport hazardous materials; to transport sixteen (16) or more passengers including the driver, or used as a school bus.

Drivers who need a CDL should obtain the Commercial Driver License Manual which contains detailed information necessary to prepare for the tests. These manuals are available at all Driver Service Centers or online at: tn.gov/safety

NOTE: If a person holds a valid commercial driver license (Class A, B, or C license), this license is also valid for operating a Class D vehicle. No separate Class D license is required. A Class M license would be needed, if a commercial driver also wanted to operate a motorcycle. (Example: Class AM for class A vehicles and Class M for motorcycle vehicles)

Class PD – Learner Permit

Instructional permits are issued with another class of license, indicating the class of vehicle which the operator is legally entitled to drive. For example, the Class PD license allows drivers to learn how to drive Class D vehicles.

To obtain a Class PD license, you must have reached your fifteenth (15th) birthday and pass the written knowledge test and vision screening for a class D license. A driver with a Class PD license may operate an automobile only when accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and is sitting in the seat beside the driver.

To exchange your Class PD license for a class D license, you are required to take a road skills driving test. If you are less than 18 years old, you must have held a valid Class PD for 180 days and abide by all the requirements of the Graduated Driver License law as outlined in Section A-3, of this manual.

When Class PD drivers apply for an Intermediate Class D license, they do not need to repeat the knowledge test unless the license permit expired more than 12 months prior to the driving skills test.

Class H – Hardship

A hardship license (Class H) may be issued to a minor who is 14 years old to operate either a Class D passenger vehicle or Class M motorcycle or both. This license is only issued in cases of family hardship and are limited to specific needs.

Proof of hardship must be mailed with a Hardship License application to the Driver Services Administrative Office for evaluation. Each application is reviewed and evaluated on an individual basis. Less than one percent of all licenses issued to minors are hardship licenses. If approved, the applicant will receive a letter authorizing application for a hardship license.

Applicants who are approved to apply for a Class H hardship license must pass a vision screening, knowledge test, and road test to operate a Class D passenger vehicle. However, to drive a Class M vehicle, the applicant will also be required to take the Class M knowledge and driving test in addition to the Class D knowledge test. Upon being licensed, operation of the Class M vehicle is limited to 125 cc.

The Class H license is valid only for daylight hours and for travel to authorized locations as specified in the approval letter.

Drivers with a hardship license who are at least fifteen (15) years old are extended the same privileges as those holding a Class PD license, when they are accompanied by any of the responsible adults listed for the Class PD.

Regardless of age at time of approval, a Hardship License will expire on the applicant’s 16th birthday.

NOTE: If you are approved for a hardship license and it is less than 6 months until your 16th birthday, you will be required to renew a Class PD upon expiration of your hardship license. You will need to hold the learner permit until you have attained a total of 180 days driving experience between the two license types and meet the Graduated Driver License Requirements as outlined in Section A-3 of this manual.

Identification Licenses (“ID Only”)

There are two types of licenses for identification purposes available to United States Citizens and persons with lawful permanent resident status. No testing is done, but the applicant must meet the same standards for proof of identity and residency as for any driver license. The sole purpose of the ID is for identification and is not valid to operate any vehicle or motorcycle. If an applicant is under the age of eighteen (18) a responsible adult must complete a portion of the Minor/Teen-age Affidavit form (available at any driver license service center) at the time of application.

As a service to Tennessee residents, families with children, including infants, may obtain these identification-only licenses for their children. Children must meet all documentation requirements.

  1. The first type of identification is an “Expiring Identification License” that may be issued to any person not currently holding a valid driver license. The person must present proof of identification and all other requirements detailed in the next chapter. NOTE: At age sixty-five (65) or older, this ID does not expire.
    • Any applicant who does not have a social security number shall complete an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, affirming that the applicant has never been issued a SSN, and must provide a certified copy of one of the following:
    • (a) Certified Birth Certificate issued by Tennessee or another state, possession, territory or commonwealth of the USA – or Valid United States Passport
    • (b) Documentation proving lawful permanent resident status issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services acceptable to the Department of Safety.
  2. The second type is a “permanent identification license” that any person who is mentally challenged or physically disabled may obtain. In addition to presenting proof of identification, the applicant must submit a certified statement from a licensed medical doctor stating that the applicant is unable to operate a vehicle. Those who qualify for this ID may receive it free of charge. ID licenses issued in this manner do not expire.

    Driving without a valid license is a class B misdemeanor. The penalty is a fine up to five-hundred dollars ($500) and/or six months in jail.

PENALTIES FOR DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE

While driving in Tennessee you must have your driver license or Temporary Driver License in your possession to show on request to any law enforcement officer. If you do not have your license with you, you may be fined not less than two dollars ($2.00) and no more than fifty dollars ($50.00).

WHO IS NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE A TENNESSEE DRIVER LICENSE?

  • Any member of the armed forces while operating a motor vehicle owned or leased by any branch of the Armed Services of the United States, including the National Guard.
  • Operators of any road machinery, farm tractor, or other farm equipment which is temporarily operated or moved on a highway.
  • Non-Tennessee residents who have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued by their home state or country, equivalent to the appropriate class or type of Tennessee license.
  • Non-U.S. citizens and who, in connection with their employment in managerial or technical positions in Tennessee, may operate vehicles with a valid driver license issued by another state, country, or international body for a period of six (6) months. These individuals must apply for a Tennessee license at the end of six (6) months.
  • Students enrolled in a Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security approved driver training course in a public or private secondary school, or in a licensed commercial driver training school for passenger vehicles, when accompanied by a certified instructor.

WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE?

  • Anyone whose license is currently suspended or revoked in this, or any other state.
  • Anyone the Commissioner (or the Commissioner’s designee) has determined would not be able to operate a motor vehicle safely because of mental or physical disabilities.
  • Anyone required to show proof of car insurance/financial responsibility who has not done so.
  • Anyone under the age of eighteen (18) who has dropped out of school before graduating, or who does not make “satisfactory progress” in school.
  • Anyone who cannot provide the required proof of U.S. Citizenship, Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) or Temporary Legal Presence, will not qualify for a driver license or identification license (ID Only).

TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE (TDL) OR TEMPORARY IDENTIFICATION LICENSE (TID)

Temporary Driver Licenses (TDL) are issued to Tennessee residents who are not U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents but have temporary legal presence status and authorized stay in the United States. Their presence in the U.S. has been authorized by the federal government for a specific purpose and for a specific time period. All other applicants for Tennessee Driver Licenses or Identification Only Licenses must provide proof of U.S. Citizenship (USC) or Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR). Proof of temporary legal presence is generally made with one or more of the following documents: (a) Conditional Resident Alien Card (I-551), (b) Temporary Resident Identification Card (I-688), (c) Employment Authorization Card (I-766), or (d) Valid Foreign Passport with a valid Visa and I-94 attached. Valid Foreign Passport with an I-94W. (Holders of F1 or F2 status should also present a valid SEVIS I-20. Holders of J1 or J2 status should also present a valid DS-2019)

This license type is issued as proof that the holder has successfully passed Tennessee’s driver license examinations/ requirements for the operation of Class D and/or Class M vehicles. The Temporary Driver License (TDL) also serves as a valid identification document.

Other TDL features include:

  • TDL class types will be preceded by the letter “X” (XD, XM, XPD)
  • TDL may be issued as a Learner Permit (XPD, XMPD) or as a combo type (XDM, XMPD)
  • The expiration date of the TDL will be tied to the corresponding dates of the legal presence documentation.

A Temporary Identification License (TID) is also now available for those non-driving applicants who are not U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents but have proof of temporary legal presence status and authorized stay in the United States. The Temporary Identification card will be shown as Class XID.

  • The expiration date of the TID will be tied to the corresponding dates of the legal presence documentation.
  • Maximum length of time a TID can be issued is five (5) years

Applicants for either the Temporary Driver License or Temporary Identification card must meet all other identification and residency requirements as mandated in Handbook Chapter A2 of this manual.

OTHER DRIVER RELATED TOPICS

Organ & Tissue Donation – Donate Life Tennessee

Sign Up! Register to be an organ and tissue donor. Show Your Heart!
When applying for your Learner’s Permit, Driver’s License or State ID you will be asked the following: “I am currently an organ and tissue donor or I want to register today.” A simple “Yes” is all that is needed to save lives in Tennessee. By indicating “Yes”, you are entered into the Donate Life Tennessee Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. Your registration is legal consent to donate your organs and tissues. Your License, Permit or ID, will have a red heart as a symbol of your decision. For more information on donation, or to specify your donation go to www.DonateLifeTn.org. It is important to share your decision with family and loved ones.

Save Lives! You can save the lives of up to 8 people or improve the lives of up to 50 or more by registering to be an organ and tissue donor. Currently, there are more than 117,000 individuals waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, including almost 3,000 Tennesseans. In 2016, organ transplants saved the lives of more than 33,000 people. An average of 20 people die each day waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Every 10 minutes a new name is added to the national transplant waiting list.

Organs that can be transplanted include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small intestine. Tissues that can be donated include skin, bones, ligaments, vertebral bodies, heart valves, pericardium, veins, blood vessels, nerves and eyes/corneas.

Sign up on the Donate Life Tennessee Organ and Tissue Registry. Show Your Heart. Save Lives.
For more information, call (877) 552-5050
or email: DLTNinfor@dcids.org

Procurement Organizations in Tennessee

Tennessee Donor Services
888-234-4440
www.tds.dcids.org

Mid-South Transplant Foundation, Inc.
901-328-4438 or 877-228-5433
www.midsouthtransplant.org

East Tennessee Lions Eye Bank
Knoxville…865-305-9625
www.lionseyebank.com

Mid-South Eye Bank
901-448-8264
888-234-4440
www.msebtn.org

IMPORTANT: EVERY time you renew your license or ID you must check “yes” for donation or your name will automatically be removed from the Donor Registry.

Veterans

If you are an Honorably Discharged Veteran you may now have “Veteran” displayed on your license. At the time of application you will need to certify on the driver license application that you are an honorably discharged veteran and want it displayed on your license. You must present a certified copy of your Department of Defence Form DD-214 or your Department of Defense form DD Form 2 (Retired) identification card.

Voter Registration – Motor Voter

To make it easy for citizens to register to vote, you may apply to register to vote or update your voter record, when you apply for a driver license or ID. The Department does not process your voter registration application. The application is forwarded to your local election commission.

  • REMEMBER: Only the Election Registrar can process and issue a voter registration card. The Driver Service Center sends your application to the appropriate County Election Commission to save you an additional trip. If you have not received your Voter Registration Card within 30 days of applying at the Driver License Service Center, you should contact your local County Election Commission immediately.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

Possession of an International Driving Permit does not mean that the holder is valid to operate an automobile in Tennessee or any other state. Do NOT be fooled by Internet sites that claim that you can drive on such a permit if your license is suspended or revoked in any state. The facts about International Driving Permits (IDP) are as follows:

  • An International Driving Permit is an official translation of a driver’s home state or country driver license into the official languages of the United Nations, including English. This translated document is to be used in conjunction with the valid driver license issued by the driver’s home state or country.
  • U.S. Citizens traveling abroad and/or foreign visitors to the United States are NOT required to have an International Driving Permit. However it can be useful in emergencies such as traffic violations or auto accidents when a foreign language is involved.
  • The International Driving Permit MUST be obtained in the home country of the driver.

U.S. Citizens: In order to obtain an IDP a United States citizen must:

  • Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
  • Hold a VALID U.S. State, Territorial or U.S. Department of State Driver License, which is NOT under revocation or suspension at the time the IDP is issued.
  • The IDP is valid for one (1) year only from the date of issuance and if the applicant’s state license expires and is not renewed or is suspended during that year the IDP becomes invalid.
  • The IDP is NOT valid for driving in the United States or its territories and it is NOT valid by itself for driving.
  • The IDP MUST be carried with the driver’s regular valid U.S. Driver License.
  • NON-U.S. Citizens: must obtain their International Driving Permit in their native country prior to arrival in the U.S. if desired.
  • An IDP can NOT be issued to a foreign visitor by any agency in the United States.
  • The Tennessee Driver Service Centers do NOT issue International Driving Permits.
  • Any Tennessee resident who is interested in obtaining an IDP before traveling abroad should contact a local American Automobile Association (AAA) office or visit their website at: www.aaasouth.com

Registered Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender

If you are a registered sexual offender or violent sexual offender and making application for a new driver license, or renewing your current driver license, it is your responsibility to inform the Department of Safety Driver License Examiner that you are required to register as a sexual offender or violent sexual offender. A Sex Offender Declaration and Supplemental Application must be completed along with documentation acceptable to the Department of Safety, evidencing identity, legal presence, and residency if the license requested requires such documentation. If you are ineligible to be issued a driver license, the Department of Safety will issue a photo identification license, or identification certificate. The applicant is required to pay any applicable fees related to the issuance of the driver license or photo identification card. Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offenders shall always have their driver license, photo identification card or identification certificate in their possession.