Accident on I-24 near Downtown Nashville Injures Metro Police Officer
A Metro Police cruiser was struck by a vehicle in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 24 early Saturday, causing the officer inside to suffer injuries.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the crash occurred at around 3:30 a.m. on the Silliman Evans Bridge near downtown. Metro Nashville Police say that the officer had stopped his vehicle to assist a motorist and had just gotten back inside when the accident occurred.
Emergency responders transported the officer to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to receive treatment for his injuries, which aren’t considered life threatening. No one else was injured because of the crash.
Police closed all eastbound lanes of the interstate until around 5 a.m. as they worked to investigate the crash and clear the scene. Investigators with the MNPD are now working to determine the cause of the accident, including whether the driver of the vehicle that struck the cruiser was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
3 Things to Know about Tennessee’s Move Over Law
In 2006, the Tennessee legislature passed the “Failure to Yield for Emergency Vehicles Law”—also known as the Move Over Law. This law requires that all drivers change lanes when approaching stopped emergency vehicles due to the risks that police officers, state troopers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers face when they work on roadsides. In 2011, the law was expanded to include utility workers, including TDOT Help Truck drivers and roadside repair and construction workers.
There are three important aspects of this law that all drivers in Tennessee should know:
- Moving over isn’t always an option or the safest choice.
Although it’s called the Move Over Law, doing so may not be possible or safe depending on the circumstances and the road you’re traveling on. If you’re on a road with four or more lanes and the lane next to you is clear, move over as soon as it’s safe to do so when you’re approaching a stopped emergency vehicle. But if the adjacent lane doesn’t have an opening—or if you’re traveling on a two-lane road—simply reduce your speed until you’ve passed the stopped emergency vehicle.
- Officers regularly cite drivers who fail to observe the Move Over Law.
Although citations for failing to move over aren’t as common as citations for speeding or driving with burnt-out taillights, law enforcement officers throughout Tennessee will pull over drivers who don’t change lanes or slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that officers in the state issued more than 1,800 citations for failing to move over in 2014 alone.
- Many drivers in Tennessee are unaware of the law.
Despite the law being on the books for more than a decade, many drivers in Tennessee are still unaware of its existence. Several investigations from reporters throughout the state in recent years have shown that many drivers fail to move over or slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles, and law enforcement officers have noted that too many drivers still speed past them when they exit their vehicles. Anyone caught violating the law, even if they weren’t aware of it, can face a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys know how important the Move Over Law is when it comes to protecting the safety of emergency responders, utility workers, and all motorists. All 50 states now have Move Over laws, which are designed to give workers more room away from speeding vehicles on roadsides and shoulders. Everyone who stops on the side of a busy and high-speed roadway is at risk.
Drivers who injure emergency responders and utility workers by failing to move over may be considered negligent. If you or someone you know was injured in an accident that was caused by a negligent driver, whether it was due to him or her failing to move over or violation another traffic law, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how we may be able to help you recover damages for your accident-related expenses, including medical bills and lost wages, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.