Traffic and Vehicle Regulation Amendments Proposed
Chapter 66 of the Brentwood Municipal Code contains the City's regulations governing traffic and vehicles. Some of these regulations are purely local in nature, but many of the regulations either mirror state statutes or adopt provisions from state law by reference.
According to Brentwood City Attorney, Roger Horner, while most state laws are enforceable only in state courts, Tennessee municipalities may adopt many of the state statutes on traffic and vehicles and enforce them through their municipal courts. Horner explains, “because there has not been a general update to the City's traffic and vehicle regulations for some time, some of the regulations' references to state statutes are now obsolete. In other cases, new state regulations have been enacted but have not been adopted by the City.” As such, Horner and other city staff took on a comprehensive review of Chapter 66 and is proposing numerous revisions. In addition to synchronizing Chapter 66 more closely with state law, the revisions intend to reflect current Police Department and City Court policies or improve upon existing policies.
Examples of the revisions include the following:
- Replacement of the word "handicapped" with "disabled" (as pertaining to disabled drivers, disabled parking, etc.) for consistency with wording in state law, along with incorporation of state definition of "disabled."
- Inclusion of definitions of "low speed vehicle," "medium speed vehicle" and "motorized bicycle" as used in state law, along with regulations pertaining to each.
- Language allowing court the discretion to require traffic offenders to attend a driver education course in addition to any other penalty, as well as in lieu of other penalties.
- Limitation on penalties for violations related to attachment or illumination of a registration plate to $10 for a first violation and $20 for subsequent violations, with no court costs be imposed, as required by state law.
- Language authorizing issuance of electronic citations (in accordance with current practice), provided the alleged offender is given a paper copy.
- Language providing that a citation serve as a notice to appear in court, even if the person to whom the citation is issued does not sign the citation.
- Provisions allowing persons 18 or older to pay fines and costs in lieu of appearing in court in accordance with current policy (unless provided otherwise by the court's policies and procedures.)
- Revised procedures for handling abandoned, immobile and unattended vehicles and for impounded vehicles (including new provisions on "curbstoning" - i.e., selling vehicles without a title or the sale of more than five vehicles within 12 months by someone who is not a licensed motor vehicle dealer.)
- Adoption of state statute prohibiting text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.
- Revisions to maximum speed limits and incorporation of minimum speed limit of 55 mph in left lane of controlled-access highways with four or more lanes.
- Revisions to parking regulations in residential and service institution districts that currently restrict parking of vehicles weighing over 8,000 pounds; proposed change would apply restrictions to commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
City Commissioners will meet Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 7pm at Brentwood City Hall for the first reading. If passed on first reading on January 9, 2018, the ordinance will be scheduled for second and final reading on January 22, 2018.