NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) announces the enactment of
Senate Bill 384. The law requires that driver licenses be printed vertically for those under 21 years of age with the next renewal after the licensee is 21 years old being printed horizontally. This law is intended to address underage drinking by ensuring that servers can easily see if a customer is underage before serving them alcohol.
“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.”
Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youths each year and costs about $24 billion in economic costs annually. Last year, 28 Tennesseans between the ages of 15 and 20 were traffic fatalities with blood alcohol levels greater than .01 percent.
Although the law became effective in May, licenses will not be printed vertically until July 2018.
With support from Tennessee’s own hospitality industry, this law added Tennessee to the group of 33 other states with similar license laws.
“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.
“I am proud of the hard work and support this law received from the hospitality industry, the Department of Safety, the Department of Transportation and other stakeholders,” added Massey.