Tennessee minors get vertical driver’s licenses in July 2018

Sample identification card and handgun carry permit (Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security)

NASHVILLE (WATE) – A new law aims at cracking down on underage drinking.

New legislation sponsored by State Senator Becky Massey and Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville requires Tennesseans under the age of 21 to be issued driver’s licenses printed in vertical format. Licenses will be printed vertically start in July 2018.

Senator Massey says the legislation is intended to address underage drinking, which is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year. She says last year 28 Tennesseans between the ages of 15 and 20 were in traffic fatalities with blood alcohol levels greater than .01 percent.

“Servers have found the small red bar presently on Tennessee licenses is hard to read, especially in high volume hours when a clerk or waiter is very busy,” said Massey. “Making it quicker and easier to identify an underage person is a proactive step in preventing mistakes and protecting our roads.”

The Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association pushed for the legislation, according to Massey.

“We were thrilled to partner with Sen. Massey on trying to help curb underage drinking. This will be an extremely positive change for our servers in the hospitality business,” said Greg Adkins, the President and CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association.

Thirty-three other states have similar laws. Currently in Tennessee, vertical driver’s licenses are available for identification cards and handgun carry permits.


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