More than 100 new laws will hit the books on July 1, including a major change to Tennessee’s Move Over Law.
Clarksville Now reports that the law, which was first passed more than one decade ago, requires drivers to change lanes when they’re approaching stopped emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and rescue vehicles. In 2011, the law was expanded to include stopped utility vehicles with flashing lights.
On July 1, the law will expand to include moving over for any vehicle where the driver has activated its flashing hazard lights, including ordinary passenger vehicles.
A spokesperson with the Smyrna Police Department says that the law applies to any road with a shoulder, not just highways and interstates.
He went on to say that when drivers fail to move over when passing stopped vehicles, they put themselves and others in danger. The new law will help keep drivers whose vehicles break down safe and help prevent traffic from backing up.
Drivers who violate the law can be charged up to $500 or sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Tips for Following the Move Over Law
Whether you’re planning on taking a trip over the Fourth of July weekend, or you frequently encounter stopped emergency vehicles on your daily commute, it’s important to be prepared for times when you approach police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, rescue vehicles, utility vehicles, and now ordinary passenger vehicles with their hazard lights activated.
A few important tips you can follow to avoid getting a ticket or causing an accident include:
- Move over as soon as you see a stopped vehicle.
If you’re driving on a flat road, whether it’s a city street, a highway, or an interstate, there’s a good chance you’ll see flashing lights ahead from a long distance away. That will give you plenty of time to move over to an adjacent lane. If you wait too long, it may be dangerous to suddenly change lanes, putting you and the occupants of the stopped vehicle in danger.
- Slow down if you can’t move over.
Depending on traffic and road conditions, moving over may be impossible. If that’s the case, Tennessee law doesn’t require that you change lanes—especially if it will increase the risk of an accident. Instead, you should reduce your speed and drive near the stopped vehicle with caution. Slowing down and being aware of the presence of the disabled or on-call emergency vehicle can reduce your chances of an accident.
- Call *THP to report disabled vehicles.
If you pass a disabled vehicle on the side of the road, call *THP on your cell phone to alert the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s dispatchers of the situation. The driver of the disabled vehicle may not have a cell phone or any way of contacting law enforcement or rescue workers. Reporting the incident means that a trooper will be dispatched to the disabled vehicle’s location.
- If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside and wait for help to arrive.
There may come a time when your vehicle becomes disabled, causing you to be stranded on the side of a road, highway, or interstate. If that happens, call for help and stay inside your vehicle while you wait for assistance to arrive. Never get out of your vehicle and attempt to work on its engine or change a flat tire.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Clarksville auto accident lawyers know that Tennessee’s Move Over Law helps keep emergency responders, utility workers, and now ordinary citizens out of danger when they travel on the state’s roadways. However, the law is only effective when everyone follows it and understands how important it is for preventing accidents.
If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash that was caused by a negligent driver, our legal team is here to help. We’ve assisted many injured victims who needed compensation for their accident-related expenses, and we know what it takes to win. Get in touch with us today by dialing (931) 274-7788 or completing a free online consultation form.