A vehicle struck three first responders in Hendersonville late Saturday evening, causing all three to suffer injuries.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the responders were working at a crash scene at the intersection of New Shackle Island Road and Drakes Creek Road just before 8:30 p.m.
The previous crash involved two people who were injured while riding a motorcycle. While the emergency responders were attending to that accident scene, a passing vehicle drove into the path of the workers and struck a sheriff’s deputy, an EMS worker, and a firefighter before crashing into a parked ambulance.
The sheriff’s deputy and the EMS worker were both transported to a local hospital to receive treatment and observation by medical staff, but both were released after they were determined to be okay.
No information has been released about the severity of the firefighter’s injuries, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash.
How Can You Avoid Causing an Accident when Driving near First Responders?
First responders save lives, but in the process, they often put their own lives at risk. Auto accidents require that first responders exit their vehicles and work on or near busy roadways. Sometimes, they’re even directly in the path of oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, first responders are seriously injured and even killed every year in Tennessee by passing vehicles.
Tennessee passed the Move Over Law in 2006 to protect first responders, and it was expanded in 2011 to protect utility workers. In addition to following that law, following these tips can also help you reduce your chances of injuring a first responder:
- Keep your eyes and mind focused on the road.
Many drivers experience some level of curiosity when they pass an accident scene or an incident that involved emergency responders on the side of the road. But taking your eyes and mind off the task of driving and focusing instead on what’s going on near your vehicle can increase your risk of causing a secondary accident.
- Follow instructions from emergency responders.
Sometimes, accidents and other incidents can result in emergency responders closing roadways or rerouting traffic on detours. When that happens, a law enforcement officer may stand in the roadway to direct traffic. Always be prepared for the presence of pedestrians in or near the roadway when you approach accident or incident scenes, and follow their instructions if they tell you to turn onto a connecting road or turn around.
- Be prepared for emergency vehicles to enter or exit the accident scene.
At accident and incident scenes, police cars, firetrucks, ambulances, and rescue vehicles may enter and leave at any time. It’s important to be prepared for this possibility when you’re driving near these areas. Following the Move Over Law gives emergency responders an empty lane to merge back into traffic, while slowing down when there isn’t room in adjacent lanes means they’ll be able to see oncoming traffic before re-entering the highway or interstate.
- Don’t stop at accident scenes if emergency responders are already present.
While stopping your vehicle in a safe location, calling 911, and providing basic assistance can be life-saving for victims after accidents, stopping and trying to help when emergency responders are already present is unnecessary and even dangerous—especially if you must drive near emergency responders or walk on the shoulder/cross traffic to reach the accident scene.
Law enforcement officers, ambulance crews, firefighters, and rescue workers play vital roles in keeping everyone in Middle Tennessee safe. In return, it’s important for drivers to always observe the Move Over Law when emergency responders are stopped on or near a roadway while also following the tips listed above. Secondary accidents involving other vehicles or even emergency responders themselves are all too common near primary accident scenes, and they often involve distracted or negligent drivers.
If you or someone you know was hurt in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident lawyers has more than two decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims like you, and we know what it takes to get successful resolutions. Contact us today by calling (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.