NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Entertainment in Nashville spills out of honky-tonks onto the streets enticing millions every year. But, has the party hit a peak unbearable on Broadway?
The co-organizer of the group Safe. Fun. Nashville. says, yes. It calls the party vehicle industry unsafe, overcrowded, and unregulated.
“If they’re putting the reputation and the safety of people of Nashville at risk, then there needs to be that [regulation]. They’ve reached the limit and they need to pull back just like any other business,” says Jim Schmitz, co-organizer of Safe. Fun. Nashville.
The Transportation Licensing Commission agrees voting to deny 30 new entertainment vehicle permit requests. The next chance to apply will come in August of 2022.
You may think that those applying would be angered by the decision, but the conversation is more complex than that.
“We didn’t think we’d get approved,” says Michael Winters, President of the Nashville Transportation Association, and owner of the Nashville Tractor. “We wanted to apply because you get to apply annually, and we didn’t want to miss— in theory—the opportunity.”
Instead, Winters said, he wanted to be included in the conversation giving a green light to regulation.
“There was a group of 15 or 20 of us who went to the Senate hearings two years ago in favor of the regulation. What I’ve seen in the past two years is a huge influx of vehicles coming downtown that probably aren’t so roadworthy.”
He believes it’s those unregulated operators who clog streets.
“When you let someone build a bus in their backyard with their friends and bring it downtown, and you have no idea who the driver is, who their insurance is, who’s regulated,” Winters continues, saying that’s what causes confusion.
As far as safety, Winters believes large vehicles aren’t nearly as dangerous as scooters and not as risky as a night on the town which may include “stabbings, shootings, fights, police called,” he says.
The next steps in the regulatory processes will come after a year-long traffic study.