Driver Arrested after TDOT Worker Seriously Injured on I-40
A worker employed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation was struck by a car in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 on Christmas Eve in Davidson County, causing him to suffer serious injuries.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the accident occurred just after 7 p.m. near the Hermitage exit when the worker had exited his TDOT Help truck to change a tire. While he was outside of his vehicle, he was struck by the car and seriously injured. He was then transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to receive treatment.
The 37-year-old driver was arrested and charged with driving without a license and not having insurance. In addition, police say that he failed to pay attention to vehicles that were slowing in front of him, which caused him to brake erratically and lose control before ultimately striking the TDOT worker.
A Facebook post by TDOT indicated that the worker suffered multiple broken bones in the accident.
What Should You Know about the Move Over Law?
Tennessee’s Move Over Law was passed in 2006 when the state became the 30th in the nation to make it illegal to drive next to stopped emergency vehicles on the side or shoulder of a roadway. This law is designed to protect police, firefighters, rescue workers, EMTs, and other emergency responders. In 2011, the law was expanded to protect utility workers and TDOT workers who must stop on roadsides to do their jobs.
The most important facts that all drivers should know about the Move Over Law include:
- Many drivers fail to follow the law.
Although the law has been in effect in Tennessee for more than a decade, some drivers are still unaware of it and even more fail to observe it when they’re coming upon a stopped police car, fire truck, ambulance, or utility truck. Drivers who fail to move over when there’s sufficient room to do so put themselves and emergency responders at risk of being involved in serious accidents.
- Police will stop and ticket drivers who fail to follow the law.
Although police aren’t always able to stop and ticket drivers who don’t move over, they strictly enforce the law when they can do so. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security says that there were more than 1,800 move over violations in the state in 2014.
- Move Over Law violators face $500 fines and up to 30 days in jail.
Police take the Move Over Law seriously—and the fines and penalties for getting caught not changing lanes when approaching emergency vehicles reflect that. Offenders can be charged up to $500 and face jail sentences of up to 30 days. The Tennessee Department of Safety reports that more than 100 highway and street construction workers have died due to vehicle crashes on the job site, and another 20,000 have been injured.
- Drivers are required to reduce their speed when moving over isn’t possible.
Driving in heavy and dense traffic can make it difficult, dangerous, and even impossible to move over when approaching a stopped emergency or utility vehicle. In that case, drivers aren’t required to move over—especially if doing so puts themselves and others at risk. They are, however, required to reduce their speed as they approach these vehicles.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys knows that the Move Over Law is highly effective at reducing the risk of accidents and injuries that emergency responders and utility workers face daily, but it’s only effective when drivers are aware of it and observe it. If you see a stopped emergency or utility vehicle ahead, it’s important to begin preparing to move over as soon as you can do so safely. Otherwise, reduce your speed and proceed with caution.
Where you or someone you know injured in an accident caused by a driver’s failure to observe the Move Over Law or due to another act of negligence? If so, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses. To find out how our legal team may be able to assist you with your claim, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.