Tennessee Speed Limit
What is the Tennessee speed limit?
Tennessee traffic laws define the maximum speed that any motorist travelling on Tennessee roadways can legally drive. Driving over the Tennessee speed limit can result in a traffic citation, fine, license suspension, or even arrest.
In Tennessee it is illegal to drive under 55mph on a highway, or interstate that is part of the state system. Municipalities can set their own speed limits on roads, with the exception of school zones. The speed limit cannot be lower than 15mph in school zones.
There are a total of 16 states with higher maximum speed limits than Tennessee.
Tennessee Speed Limit - Rural Freeways
The maximum speed limit on rural freeways and interstates in Tennessee is 70 miles per hour. "Rural freeways" are the sections of major highways that passing through rural and sparsely populated areas, and can safely allow faster driving. Rural highways will generally have the highest legal speed limits in Tennessee.
Tennessee Speed Limit - Urban Freeways
The maximum speed limit on urban freeways and interstates in Tennessee is 70 miles per hour. "Urban freeways" are the segments of large highways that are located within a city or densely populated area's limits, and are generally more prone to traffic congestion and other hazards.
In most cases, the freeway's speed limit will return to the rural freeway speed limit of 70 mph after the road passes through the most densely populated area.
Tennessee Speed Limit - Divided Roads
The maximum speed limit on divided roads in Tennessee is 65 miles per hour. Divided roads must have a concrete median or buffer zone separating opposite lanes, and may have one or more lanes going in the same direction.
Because the median helps protect drivers from head-on collisions, Tennessee has a higher maximum speed limit for divided roads than undivided roads.
Tennessee Speed Limit - Undivided Roads
The maximum speed limit on rural undivided roads roads in Tennessee is 55 miles per hour. This category includes most small backroads and local routes.
When these routes pass through a residential or heavily-trafficked area, the speed limit will usually drop to 30 mph or below.
Tennessee Speed Limit - Residential Areas
The maximum speed limit on residential roads in Tennessee is 30 miles per hour. Residential roads have the most potential for speed-based accidents and collisions, so residential districts tend to have the lowest speed limits with the most strict enforcement policies.
When driving in residential areas be on the lookout for school, hospital, and construction zones. These areas often have even lower speed limits, with strict enforcement and heavy fines for speeding.
Tennessee Speeding Tickets and Citations
Driving over the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions, or failing to obey special speed limit zones can result in a Tennessee speeding ticket, points on your license, and even a license suspension or revocation for repeat offenders.
Tennessee highway patrol officers monitor traffic using radar, speed traps, and cameras. Radar technology is not exact, and as a general rule an officer will not pull you over for exceeding the speed limit by less than 5 mph (75 mph on a rural freeway, or 60 mph on an rural undivided road). However, any speeds in excess of the posted speed limits can be considered a ticketable offence.