Getting a Driver’s License
NEW RESIDENTS: If you are new to Tennessee, you will need to get a Tennessee driver’s license within 30 days of arrival. Take your out-of-state license, two proofs of residency, proof of citizenship and your Social Security number to one of the testing centers. If you have a valid, out-of-state driver’s license (or a certified driving record from that state showing the license has not expired), only the vision test is required. However, if the license expired over six months ago, all tests (vision, knowledge and road) are required. If you are moving here from outside the country you will be requried to take all tests.
The Department of Safety accepts numerous forms of identification, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate, valid or expired passport, certificate of naturalization, or a permanent resident alien card. Tennessee residency can be proved with a rent or mortgage contract, vehicle registration, bank statement, paycheck showing your address, or utility bills that are in your name. If you were never issued a Social Security number (SSN), you may still apply for a driver’s license.
LEARNER’S PERMIT AND FIRST LICENSE: In the state of Tennessee, you may apply for a learner’s permit at the age of 15. However, under the graduated license law, there are certain driving restrictions placed on teens under the age of 18.To receive a list of FAQs regarding the graduated license law, as well as an enumeration of driving restrictions for teens, please call the Tennessee Department of Safety at 741-3954 or visit www.tennessee.gov/safety. To apply for a learner’s permit, you will need to take your birth certificate, a passport or an adoption decree to the testing center with you. There is a $10.50 fee for each application. You will have to take a vision test and a traffic-rules test. Drivers under 18 are required to have their permit for a minimum of 180 days (6 months) before taking the road test.
For the road test, you must be accompanied by a parent (with proper ID) who can certify that they are financially responsible for you. If your parent can’t go with you, pick up a form (a Teenage Affidavit) in advance, have it signed and notarized, and bring it with you. It is also necessary to bring State Form 1010 (or a statement on school letterhead from out-of-state or private schools) showing proof of school attendance and State Form 1256 certifying 50 hours behind the wheel. There is also a $24.50 fee. To take the test, you need a vehicle that is properly registered and in good operating condition, with fully functioning safety features such as turn signals, brake lights and seat belts.
At 16, you can get an intermediate restricted license, which places limits on the time of day when driving is permissible and the number of passengers in the car. After holding that license for one year, you are eligible for an intermediate unrestricted license (there is a $2 fee).
RENEWALS: You should receive a renewal notice in the mail at least six weeks before your license is scheduled to expire. You do not need this form to renew; the notice is a courtesy, and you are responsible for renewing your license by its expiration date regardless of whether you received a notice. The renewal fee of $19.50 covers a 5-year license and the application fee.
If possible, the Department of Safety recommends that you renew your license on the Internet or by mail, but a new state law requires that those issued a Tennessee driver’s license since January 1, 2001 are required to provide documentation that they are either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident at the time of their first renewal, so you will be required to visit a driver license station. Go to www.tennessee.gov to renew online or to change your address. To renew by mail, fill out the renewal form with any address changes and whether you’d like to be an organ donor. Then sign the form and mail it back with the fee. (Do not send cash.) When you renew online or by mail, you will be mailed a renewal sticker to put on the back of your existing license. Of course, you still have the option of renewing your license at a testing center.
It’s not a good idea to let your license expire before renewing it, but should this happen, the late fee is $5 if fewer than six months have passed, $10 if your license has been invalid for more than six months but less than five years. An expiration of longer than five years means you will have to start fresh with a vision test, a traffic-rules test and a road test.
Note: If you are 60 or older, you may switch to a non-photo ID, either by mail or by going to a testing center.
REPLACEMENTS: For lost, stolen or destroyed licenses, take two forms of ID (see above) to a testing center or apply for a duplicate online. The fee you pay will be determined by the number of previous replacements you’ve had during your current license renewal cycle. The current fees are $8 for the first and $12 for each subsequent replacement. If the lost license would have expired within the next 12 months, you can choose to renew the license instead of replacing it.
You don’t have to replace your license when you have a change of address. You must, however, notify the Department of Safety within 10 days of the change (per state law). You may do this by phone, unless you want a new license, in which case you will have to go to a testing center and pay the standard replacement fees. You can also do a change of address at www.tennessee.gov.
Name changes must be made in person, and you must bring proof of the name change with you to a testing center. Marriage certificates, decrees of divorce and court orders, or certified copies thereof, are considered proof. The replacement license fees are the same, $8 and $12.
Driver’s License Testing Centers
• 6604 Centennial Blvd. 741-4560
• 624 Hart Ln. 532-9780Both of these centers are full-service, offering road and traffic-rules
tests. Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. No road tests are given after
4:30 p.m. Centers stay open an hour later on the second Wednesday of
Driver’s License Express Centers
• 1601 Murfreesboro Rd. 741-2541
• William R. Snodgrass Bldg., 3rd Fl., 312 8th Ave. N. 253-2062Express centers provide license duplicates, license renewals and
exchange of valid out-of-state licenses for Tennessee licenses. Copies
of driving records are also available at the 8th Ave. N. location. For
further information, call the Tennessee Department of Safety’s 24-hour
information line (741-3954) or visit the website at
www.tennessee.gov/safety.Murfreesboro Rd. hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., except on the
second Wednesday of every month, when the center opens at 9:30 a.m.
Snodgrass Bldg. hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri., except the second
Wednesday of each month, when it opens an hour later.
License PlatesOnce you’ve passed your emissions test (see below), you’re set to pick
up your license plate. You can do this at the County Clerk’s office,
located in the Howard Office Building, 700 2nd Ave. S., or at a
satellite office. When you go, take along the certificate from the
emissions test and your current registration. If the car has a lien on
it, you’ll need to provide the name and address of the lien holder. If
your vehicle is leased, you’ll need to take your previous registration,
a power of attorney from the leasing company, and the tax-exempt number
of the leasing company. (Otherwise you’ll be required to pay state
sales tax.) Fees for license plates are $69.50 for the first plate,
which includes a $10.50 title fee, and $59 for renewals. Vanity plates
are an extra $35 each time. Tennessee has more than 75 specialty
license plates, so let your individuality run free. For information,
call the County Clerk’s office at 862-6251 or visit the website at
www.nashville.gov/cclerk. The office is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Mon.-Fri.; the automated information line is accessible 24 hours a day.
Vehicle Emissions TestingResidents of Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson
counties must have their vehicles inspected. Take your car for
emissions testing before you attempt to get your license plate;
otherwise, you’ll just be wasting a lot of time. Exceptions include
vehicles dating from 1974 and older, diesel- or electrically powered
vehicles, motorcycles, and vehicles weighing more than 8,500 pounds.Emissions testing costs $10 and can be done at any of the stations in
the Metro area. Be sure to take the $10 in cash, and taking the exact
amount is a good idea; they don’t accept bills larger than $20. Also
bring along your title or old registration information or, if you’ve
been through this before, the renewal information that was mailed to
you.The emissions testing centers are open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Tues. and 7
a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri. at the following Nashville stations: 3494
Dickerson Rd., 3363 Stoner’s Bend Dr., 7008 Westbelt Dr., 715 Gallatin
Pk. N. and 501 Craighead St. The same hours also apply at 951
Grassland Pl. in Gallatin, 1005 Merylinger Ct. in Franklin, and 1211
Salem Park Ct. in Murfreesboro.
The Antioch station, at 1317 Antioch Pk., is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri. and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.
The Smyrna mobile unit is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Address: 271 Weakley Ln., Sam Ridley Pkwy. E.
The Lebanon station, at 810 Tennessee Blvd., is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri. and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat.
Call 399-8995 for dates, locations and times of the mobile unit that services the towns of Westmoreland and Portland.Keep in mind that lines are longer at the end of the month, when people
are rushing to renew expiring license tags. For the testing station
nearest you, call the Emissions Testing Hotline at 399-8995, 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week. By the way, should your vehicle fail the
inspection, you are entitled to one free reinspection.
Tennessee drivers are now required to carry liability insurance, with minimum liability requirements of 25/50/10. Failure to provide proof of financial responsibility (i.e. insurance card or policy) will result in a $100 fine and can result in a suspension of your license. Buckle up—it is the law—and drive carefully. For more information call Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Division at 741-3954 or visit www.tennessee.gov/safety/financialresponsibility.htm. The FRD is located at 1150 Foster Ave.
In Nashville, public transportation means buses—and in some cases trolleys. The standard adult bus fare is $1.25 ($1.75 on express busses); there are no transfer rates. Students in grades 5-12 (who are 19 or younger) ride for 70¢. Children 4 and younger ride free. Fares are always paid upon entering the bus.
For information on bus schedules or bus pass packages, call MTA at 862-5950. For ridesharing information, call RTA, the Regional Transportation Authority, at 862-8833. For information on door-to-door transportation for disabled riders, call Access Ride at 880-3970.
The Regional Transportation Authority, RTA, is the largest rideshare coordinator in the Southeast, connecting thousands of Middle Tennesseans to vanpools and carpools. The RTA serves a nine-county area including Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson. Rates for vanpooling depend on the number of passengers and miles traveled, but typically range from $35-$80 per month per rider.
The RTA also offers bus service between Nashville and Murfreesboro, including the MTSU campus, Smyrna and LaVergne for an ExpressPlus service rate of $2.25. Express service between Nashville and Sam Ridley Parkway, and all trips within Rutherford County, cost $2 for adults. On weekdays, there is also round-trip service from Hendersonville to downtown and from Mt. Juliet to downtown. An express card of 10 round-trips can be purchased for $36; an Express-Plus card for 10 round-trips is $40.50. The standard fare is $1.25, but Children 4 and younger ride for free.
For information on park-and-ride services, ridesharing programs, the Guaranteed Ride Home program and other services, call the RTA office at 862-8833, or visit the website at www.rta-ride.org.
Useful Airport Contact Info
Airport Authority main switchboard: 275-1600
Paging/Information (welcome center): 275-1674 or 275-1675
Operating Conditions: 275-1665
Nashville Electric Service
To establish electric service, call NES 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may choose to have a free credit check performed. If not, you will be asked to supply a letter of good standing from another gas or electric utility. If your credit is good, you will not be required to pay a deposit. (Security deposits of either $150 or $180 are otherwise required.) An initial service fee of $15 is charged if electricity is already on at your new location. If electricity must be restored, the fee is $45 to have it restored the same day and $30 if you give a day’s notice.
Nashville Gas Co.
734-0665 or 734-0735
To establish gas service, call customer service at the above number 7 a.m.-7 p.m., or stop by the MetroCenter location at 665 Mainstream Dr. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Automatic bank drafts to pay bills can be arranged. The Nashville Gas Home Energy Center at the Mainstream Dr. location also sells natural gas appliances and can provide installation and financing.
To set up phone service, call BellSouth 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. (closed Sun.) The Right Touch Automated Information Service is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Allow at least 3 to 4 days to establish service. You will need to provide your complete street address, your Social Security number (for credit check), the name of your landlord if renting, employment information and contact number.
BellSouth also offers mobile phone, Internet and DSL services. Internet can run anywhere from $4.95 to $14.95, and DSL ranges from $24.95 to $46.95. You can also order service or check your existing bill at www.bellsouth.com.
AT&T is also a Nashville phone service provider. Call the above number any time of day to order local service. AT&T also offers Internet and DSL services. Internet costs about $14.95, and DSL is about $29.95, so you’ll have to compare rates with BellSouth to find out which is best for you. You can also order service or check your existing bill at www.att.com.
Metro Water Services
Metro Water Services Customer Communications is located at 1700 Third Ave. N. in Nashville. New residential service can be established at the office or over the phone 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. A $25 service initiation fee will be charged on your first monthly bill. New service can be established the same day; however, you’ll get a better service response if you give at least 24 hours advance notice. Once your account is established, you can get account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the phone number listed above. For TTY/hearing-impaired service, call 862-4745.
Trash Removal and Recycling
Metro Public Works Division of Waste Management offers the following facilities and services: trash collection, curbside recycling (CURBY), 10 recycling drop-off sites, two recycling/convenience centers for recycling and bulk wastes, a household hazardous waste drop-off site, bulk item collection, dead animal collection, brush and leaf collection, a composting center (for brush/leaf drop-off and purchase of mulch and compost) and commercial waste audits. Not all facilities and services are available to Davidson County residents. Other charges and restrictions may apply. Please call the number or visit the website listed above for more information.
To vote in an election, you need to be registered at least 30 days before that election. You may register at the Davidson County Election Commission, located in the Howard School Building at 700 2nd Ave. S., Rm. 153. You may also register by mail (using forms available at post offices and public libraries) and when renewing your driver’s license. For information on absentee or early voting, call 862-8815.
Comcast provides cable service in Nashville, offering high-speed Internet installation and service. The basic/standard cable service costs $44.95 per month. Various premium and movie-channel packages are available, but you must have or rent a cable box. Call Comcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit their offices at 660 Mainstream Dr. in MetroCenter, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat. Or visit Comcast’s website at www.comcast.com.