Non-Residents Get Tennessee Drivers’ Licenses, Audit Says


Staff at Tennessee’s Driver Services’ Centers aren’t doing enough to make sure people who come in for commercial drivers’ licenses and commercial learners’ permits provide proof of residency.

This, of course, increases the likelihood non-residents of Tennessee could get a drivers’ license.

And that, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released Wednesday, could result in more public safety issues.

For this audit, Comptrollers reviewed the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, which oversees these matters.

“We visited several driver services centers across the state to gain an understanding of their overall operations. At one particular center, staff shared concerns about other centers issuing learner’s permits to applicants who had not provided adequate documentation for proof of residency,” auditors wrote.

“This center is the only center in the district that contains both the CDL (Commercial Drivers’ Licenses) examiners and the CDL pad necessary for the road skills test. Learner’s permit holders who were issued their permits by other centers would eventually conduct their road test at this center.”

Per Tennessee law, acceptable proof of residency is a document with a person’s name and residential address within the state, such as a government-issued tax form. According to the federal law, states are responsible for making sure the applicant meets the requirements for the licenses, according to the audit.

“From a population of 318 applicants who obtained testing across the state through third-party companies for the period March 7, 2018, through June 1, 2019, we selected a haphazard sample of 122 applicants to determine if the driver services center staff obtained adequate documentation,” auditors wrote.

“We determined that for 6 of 122 applicants (5 percent), staff had not obtained and uploaded adequate proof of residency in the A-List system before issuing a commercial learner’s permit, and we subsequently discovered that these permit holders were issued a CDL.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tennessee Driver’s License” by TN Gov. Background Photo “DMV” by Oregon Department of Transportation. CC BY 2.0.




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6 Thoughts to “Non-Residents Get Tennessee Drivers’ Licenses, Audit Says”

  1. […] The Tennessee Star reported in September, staff at Tennessee’s Driver Services’ Centers aren’t doing enough to make sure people who […]


    1. William Davis

      Last time I renewed my license they wouldn’t issue a renewal until I bought them my passport and my birth cirtificate, I’ve lived in Tn my whole life and have had a license since I was 16, I’m now 66. Person at desk said if I was illegal they wouldn’t ask me for anything since it would violate my rights, REALLY

  3. bruce

    So a 15year old come in to get a learners permit. At 15 I only had one thing government issued that had my name on it. A library card. An illegal is likely to have more paperwork than a real citizen. We just need to enforce our existing immigration laws, that way the activist Judges will have a hard time blocking things.

  4. Sammie

    So with these people that received Tennessee drivers license without proof of residency how many of those register to vote also ?!?
    Why is it non-citizens have more rights than citizens do this is an out rage! While the mayor of Davidson County Nashville Tennessee wants to make Nashville a sanctuary city. So much for caring about the citizens as the crime rate rises, carjacking, police chases , rape, just to name a few!

  5. Jo Sample

    I can’t see how they don’t do enough I was applying in Maryville Tennessee first of all it was a two hour wait I brought all of my information including my sale of my home electric bill all the paperwork I needed and then was told I needed my original divorce papers for the change of name which had already been changed in another state. Then I returned with the proper paperwork in another two hours before I got my drivers license