Tennessee Public Driving Records
The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security is the government agency responsible for driver records. The agency acts like a DMV (department of motor vehicles). This department issues them to individuals and companies in need of the information. Auto insurance companies use these records to set insurance rates and decide to insure motorists. Employers and government agencies use them for background checks.
The state allows people to request records in a few different ways, and they offer a 3-year and 10-year report. However, the state follows strict Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws and does not print the driver's address on reports to protect the indivdiual's privacy.
Other personal information may appear on reports, such as the driver's name, date of birth, social security number, and Tennessee driver's license number. Along with these items, the report will also show accident history, license status, driving offenses, traffic violations, moving violations, traffic citations, driver points, license suspensions, revocations, and cancellations.
How to Request a Copy of Your Tennessee Driving History
The state offers a few different ways to get a copy of someone's driving history. The first is using the online portal. When someone uses the system, they must pay by credit card and have their name, date of birth, TN driver's license number, and social security number. The requestor can then print or save the document after purchase.
Another way to get records is in person at a driver services center. There are quite a few around the state. The requestor will need the subject's name, driver's license number, and date of birth. If ordering for someone else, they also need a notarized consent form from the subject.
Residents can also request records by mail. The state does not have an order form, but someone can send in a request with the fee and mail it to:
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
PO BOX 945
Nashville, TN 37202
Ordering by mail takes at least two weeks to get the copy.
These records will not show the driver's home address per DPPA laws.
Motor Vehicle Records Cost
Regardless of how someone requests records, the fee for a report is $5. The state offers 3-year and 10-year copies. When paying in person or by mail, the requestor can pay with a cashier's check or money order.
Driving Laws in the State
Someone must be 15 years or older to apply for their learner's permit. The state uses a graduated driver's license (GDL) program. Learner's permit holders must follow strict rules such as supervised driving, driver's education, and a test before they can apply for their intermediate restricted or unrestricted driver's license.
Learner's Permit Rules
- You must be 15 years old and pass the standard written and visual exams
- You must hold a Learner Permit for 180 days
Learner's Permit Restrictions
- You must have a licensed driver age 21 or older in the front seat
- You may not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m
- Passengers 4-17 years of age must wear a seatbelt
Intermediate Restricted License Rules
- You must be 16 years old and pass the driving test
- You must have held a Learner Permit for 180 days
- You cannot have more than six points on your record during the immediate 180 days preceding your application
- You must have verification from a parent, legal guardian, or driving instructor stating that you have 50 hours (10 hours at night) of driving experience
Intermediate Restricted License Restrictions
- You may only have one passenger in the car with you
- You may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m
- Passengers 4-17 years of age must wear a seatbelt
Intermediate Unrestricted License Rules
- You must be 17 years old. No additional tests are required
- You must have held an Intermediate Restricted License for one year
- You cannot have accumulated more than six points on your driving record
- You cannot have two seatbelt violations
Intermediate Unrestricted License Restrictions
- Passengers 4-17 years of age must wear a seatbelt
The state of Tennessee takes driver safety very seriously. They have put together a list of the top ten safety driving laws for visitors. They are:
- Texting While Driving Law (TCA 55-8-199) Texting while driving a vehicle in Tennessee is illegal
- Move Over Law (TCA 55-8-132) When approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with visual emergency lights activated, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to the vehicle by moving into the closest available lane from the emergency vehicle, whenever possible. When the roadway does not provide an additional lane, drivers are required to slow down and provide as much space as possible to protect emergency vehicle operators in action
- Seat Belt Law (TCA 55-9-603) Tennessee is a primary Safety Belt state. Drivers are required to wear safety belts at all times when operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee. Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that all passengers are belted in
- Speeding in Construction Zones Law (TCA 55-8-153) Drivers are required to obey speed limits at all times, especially when workers are in a construction zone. Violators are subject to a minimum $250.00 fine
- Handgun Carry Permit Law (TCA 39-17-1351) Tennessee allows out-of-state residents who possess a legally issued Handgun Carry Permit to bear a handgun; Tennessee laws regulating the use and carry of a handgun shall take precedence. To view Tennessee law and listing of states Tennessee has reciprocity agreements with, click here
- Tennessee's DUI Law and Penalties (TCA 55-10-401 and 55-10-403) Individuals are presumed to be under the influence of alcohol with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08%. First-time offenders are subject to a $350.00 minimum fine and 48 hours in jail. Vehicle towing and storage will also be charged to offenders. Enhanced penalties and sanctions will result if BAC is greater than the legal limit or if children are present at the time of the arrest
- Maximum Length of Recreational Vehicle Combination Law (TCA 55-7-201) The maximum length of this type of combination vehicle is sixty-five feet (65'). Any towed vehicle shall also be securely attached to the pulling unit and equipped with functional brake and signal lights
- Child Restraint Devices Law (TCA 55-9-602) All child passengers through the age of eight (8) must be secured in a Child Restraint Device. Infants are required in a rear-facing child restraint device in the rear seat, if available, until the age of one (1) or weighing twenty pounds (20 lbs.) or less. Children ages one (1) through three (3) weighing greater than twenty pounds (20 lbs.) must be in a child restraint device in a forward-facing position in the rear seat, if available. Children ages four (4) through eight (8) and less than four feet, nine inches (4' 9") in height must be in a booster seat in the rear seat, if available. Children above the age of nine (9) must be secured by a safety belt restraint system
- Motorcycle Helmet Law (TCA 55-9-302) All motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet. Helmets must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Open Container Law (TCA 55-10-416) Drivers shall not consume or possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage or beer while operating a motor vehicle in Tennessee
- A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license issued to an individual by a state or other jurisdiction of domicile, in accordance with federal regulations and standards. A CDL is required for operators of larger or more complex vehicles. These licenses include Class A, B, or C depending upon the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and/or what is being transported
- 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 is limited to specific needs
The state uses a point system to keep track of all driving offenses. If the driver earns too many, they will lose their license. If a permit holder earns 6 in 180 days, they will have to delay getting their license. Commercial drivers may face harsher penalties.
Different Types of Driving Reports in the State
The state has one type of report that is the official motor vehicle record (MVR), but it comes in two versions.
3-Year Driver Record
The 3-year record will show the driver's name, social security number, date of birth, driver's license number, and physical description. It will also show accident history, driving convictions, citations, license suspensions, cancellations, revocations, and license points. This report will only show the last three years.
10-Year Driver Record
The 10-year record will show the driver's name, social security number, date of birth, driver's license number, and physical description. It will also show accident history, driving convictions, citations, license suspensions, cancellations, revocations, and license points. This report will show the last ten years.
Criminal Driving Offenses
Criminal driving offenses are serious issues with harsh penalties such as steep fines, jail time, driver license points, and the loss of a driver's license. Sometimes the court may require the driver to take a defensive driving course as well. Some examples of criminal driving offenses are:
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Reckless driving
- Hit and run
- Evading law enforcement
Civil Driving Offenses
Civil driving offenses are far less serious and usually only result in a warning or a fine. Some examples of these crimes are:
- Illegal parking
- Failure to yield
- Going the wrong way down a one-way street
- Running a red light or stop sign
State Department of Motor Vehicles Driving Records Statistics
The state keeps track of all driving-related and crash data to improve highway and traffic safety. Some interesting statistics from their data includes:
- 8 out of 10 crashes involving a distracted driver occurred in Urban Areas
- 1 out of 9 crashes involved a distracted driver
- One-year costs for motor-vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver exceeded $477M
- A crash involving a distracted driver occurred every 0 hours, 25 minutes, 3 seconds
- 1 in 15 drivers involved in a crash was distracted
- 1 in 6 serious injury crashes involves a DUI
- DUI crashes costs exceed $929,568,200
- 1 in 2 DUI crashes result in injury or death
- The majority of crashes involve teens or seniors
- October and November have the most crashes
- 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday are the days/times with the most crashes
- Shelby and Davidson Counties have the highest number of car accidents
Driver License Record Search Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about state drivers records.
Who Can Get a Copy of Your Tennessee Driving Record?
Anyone with your consent can get a copy of your driving record. However, they must have a notarized consent form from you when applying.
Can I Use the Online Systems to Get BMV Records?
Yes. Individuals and companies can get copies online, through the mail, and in person.
What Information Do I Need to Get a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)?
You will need your name, social security number, date of birth, and driver's license when ordering a copy of your record.
Does the State Use a Points System?
Yes. They have a strict points policy, especially for teen drivers, and someone who earns too many quickly will lose their license.
Helpful State Driving Record Links
Below are some helpful state driving record links.
Disclaimer: The materials presented here are for informational purposes only. The information is taken from state and local resources, and is current as of the most recent site update. Changes made by state and local departments and agencies after our latest update may render some information and fees outdated, and may cause links to break and forms to be unavailable. Infotracer strongly encourages you to visit the relevant state and local resources to ensure you have the most recent information.