New Tennessee laws in 2016

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A new year means new laws in Tennessee.

Tennesseans can renew driver licenses every 8 years

Beginning Jan. 4, 2016, Tennesseans will be able to renew their driver license every eight years instead of five. The legislation to make the change was introduced during the 2015 legislative session to help decrease wait times and improve customer traffic flow at driver services centers. Details.

Seat belt fines increase

Motorists who don’t buckle up in Tennessee will face stiffer fines. A new law increases the fine for first-time offenders who are not wearing a seat belt from $10 to $25 and from $20 to $50 for repeat offenders. Details.

Uninsured motorists face stiffer penalties

Tennessee drivers caught without insurance could have their car towed. The new law also triples fines for uninsured drivers from $100 to $300.

The law also aims to make it easier for law enforcement and DMV clerks to determine if a driver has insurance, whether they have proof or not. A new system that will be in place by summer 2016 will allow authorities to ping a vehicle’s VIN, so a database can relay whether the owner has insurance. Motorists will also be required to show proof of liability insurance before they are allowed to get or renew tags for their vehicle.Details.

Tennessee Animal Abuse Registry

Starting January 1, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will have a website with lists and photos of people convicted of having intentionally abused animals. Offenders will spend two years on the registry for first time offenses and five years on the registry for second offenses. Details.

Ban on DXM cough syrup to minors

A new law will go into effect Thursday banning the over-the-counter sale of certain cough medicines to minors.

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant used in more than 100 medications and is safe at normal doses. However, it can cause hallucinations and effects similar to illicit drugs if abused in high doses.

“Stopping direct sale of OTC cough medicine to teens is a critical prevention measure, as it will put an end to a common way many abusers obtain the medicine—purchasing it themselves,” said Scott Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “Once enacted as law, this legislation also has the potential to raise awareness among parents and community leaders who are unaware of this dangerous behavior.”


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