The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced a new safety campaign on Wednesday that’s aimed at protecting the lives of highway workers throughout the state.
Per a report by WKRN.com and a release by TDOT, the campaign was announced in Carthage, Tennessee, and was developed in response to three TDOT workers who died while working in 2016.
All three of the workers were killed when they were struck by passing vehicles on highways and interstates. TDOT says that those deaths bring the total number of lost lives in the organization up to 112 since it was founded.
The “Work With Us” safety campaign asks that all drivers pay attention, slow down, and move over for all vehicles with flashing lights, whether they’re emergency vehicles or utility vehicles. Workers and emergency responders are at high risk of serious accidents when they’re outside of their vehicles on busy roadways, whether they’re patching potholes, changing tires for stranded motorists, or issuing citations.
In addition to the announcement of the safety campaign, TDOT also announced that it will add the name of a worker who was killed on Christmas Eve on Interstate 40 in Hermitage while changing a family’s flat tire to its memorial monument at the Smith County welcome center.
3 Things All Drivers Should Know about TN’s Move Over Law
TDOT’s safety campaign is designed to protect workers and increase awareness of the dangers they face daily, but drivers should move over regardless—it’s the law. Tennessee passed the Move Over Law in 2006, and it requires that all drivers change lanes when approaching stopped emergency vehicles on the side of a roadway.
For the law to be most effective, it’s important that drivers understand all facets of it, including:
- The law was amended in 2011 to include utility vehicles and workers.
While police officers, state troopers, EMS workers, firefighters, and rescue workers all face extreme dangers while on the job—especially when they’re stopped on the side of a roadway—it’s vital to remember that utility workers and road repair workers face many of the same risks. That’s why the law was amended to include protection for any worker who uses a utility vehicle in 2011.
- Tennessee was the 30th state to enact the law, which is now common nationwide.
Emergency responders and utility workers are at risk on the job no matter where they work. That’s why all 50 states have some variation of a Move Over Law on their books. So, whether you’re driving in the Volunteer State or any other state in the USA, it’s important to remember to move over as soon as you see a stopped emergency or utility vehicle on the side of the road.
- Moving over isn’t required if it’s dangerous or impossible to do so.
The Move Over Law is designed to protect people, not put them in further danger. Drivers should be aware that the law only applies when it’s safe to move over. Frantically trying to change lanes at the last minute—especially when you’re driving in heavy traffic and there are no openings in adjacent lanes—may serve to increase the risk of an accident. If you don’t have room or time to move over, reduce your speed as you approach the stopped emergency or utility vehicles instead.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys knows that anyone who exits their vehicle on or near a roadway faces an increased risk of being involved in an accident. That’s why it’s so important for drivers to remember the Move Over Law. Not only does keeping it in mind help protect you and emergency responders and utility workers from accidents, but it also means you won’t get a penalty—which can be up to $500 in citations and even 30 days in jail.
Drivers who fail to move over and strike emergency responders and utility workers may be considered negligent, especially due to their failure to follow a traffic law. Our legal team knows that many accidents occur due to negligent drivers, and we’re here to help victims who were injured by their carelessness.
If you or someone you know was hurt by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how can put our two decades of experience to work for your family, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.