New Tennessee Law: No Auto Insurance, No Vehicle Registration


DYERSBURG, Tenn. (AP) – Though it's been mandatory for 40 years, Tennessee automobile liability insurance requirements will soon become much more enforceable. It's then when the "James Lee Atwood Jr. Law" will take effect forcing all Tennessee county court clerks to confirm insurance compliance before issuing new vehicle registration tags.

The bill is named after James Lee Atwood Jr. of Memphis. A year ago an uninsured driver killed a 30-year-old Memphis man in an accident on Shelby Drive in Southeast Memphis. The uninsured driver had been pulled over earlier that day and cited for not having insurance, but with the current laws at the time, could not be prevented from driving on.

Already signed by Gov. Haslam, as the new law is written its implementation will be official on Jan. 1, 2016, but its enforcement may not become feasible until Jan. 1, 2017. By this time all the electronic verification tools and systems should be in place and available to the state county court clerks so that enforcement during the registration process becomes doable.

According to "The new law will affect an estimated one of out every five Tennessee drivers -- about 1.1 million people who drive at some point without insurance." There will also be significant penalties for Tennessee drivers who fail to comply with the new law. With three added amendments the Atwood Jr. law as passed is six pages in length. To read the entire bill, check out:

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