Every year around this time our firm gets a flood of calls from people who receive criminal charges while on their way to or while leaving Bonnaroo. They have ranged from simple possession and paraphernalia to felony drug charges. Regardless, each call starts out the same, “I was pulled over for…..”, which leads to their car getting searched and ultimately them leaving with a court date they had not planned for. So in preparation for this annual event, we at Freeman & Fuson have compiled a list of the top 5 reasons we have seen for Bonnaroo patrons getting pulled over and the counties they seem to occur in the most.
1. Speeding (TCA §55-8-152) – This may seem obvious, but many people who are on their way to Bonnaroo are in a rush to get there. Speeding is an easy way to get your car pulled over and give the officer a chance to make contact. The easy advice is to set your cruise control and keep a look out for the posted limits.
2. Following too Closely (TCA §55-8-124) – Getting pulled over for following to close to the car in front of you may be the most subjective reason on the list, but it is one we have seen each Bonnaroo season with more frequency. Make sure you keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front so that this is not even an option for an officer to pull you over.
3. Failure to use Turn Signal (TCA §55-8-143) – For 359 days a year you can probably not use a turn signal while changing lanes (we endorse that you always use a turn signal) and never have an issue. But while Bonnaroo is going on, this is an easy way for one of the State’s Judicial Drug Tasks Forces to pull people over and try to search their car.
4. Littering (TCA §39-14-502) – Cigarette butts! Yes, in Tennessee, throwing cigarettes out the window is considered littering and makes you an easy target to get pulled over. Toss them in a bottle or in your ashtray until you get to where you’re going.
5. Light up your License Plate (TCA §55-4-110) – A new law came on the books right after Bonnaroo last year and we wouldn’t be surprised if it is enforced with some extra vigor. A lot of you will drive through the night and along with checking your headlights, taillights and brake lights, make sure the little lights on your license plate work too. In Tennessee, if your car has lights over the license plate, they are required to be working.
While every county in the mid-state will be looking for people headed to and from Bonnaroo, a few counties here look harder than others. Sumner County, Rutherford County, Montgomery County and of course Coffee County are a few we get the most Bonnaroo related calls. Davidson, Williamson and Wilson Counties are also in the running when it comes to Roo related cases.