A Ford Explorer used by the Tennessee Highway Patrol was struck by a passing vehicle in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 on Friday afternoon.
Per a report by WSMV.com, the accident happened at around 2:45 p.m. when the trooper driving the SUV stopped to investigate a non-injury crash near mile marker 180 and the exit for State Route 96 in Dickson County.
Thankfully, both troopers who were riding in the vehicle had already exited at the time of the crash. Neither were injured, but two occupants inside the vehicle that collided with the THP SUV suffered injuries and were transported to a local hospital to receive treatment.
The accident is still under investigation. The Nashville branch of the Tennessee Highway Patrol posted about the accident on its Twitter account and warned drivers to expect delays, and the left lane of the westbound side of the interstate was closed until around 5 p.m.
3 Potential Consequences of Failing to Move Over
Emergency responders, including police officers, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, paramedics, and rescue workers have always faced dangers when they respond to emergencies on roadsides. In response, Tennessee passed the Move Over Law in 2006 to better protect them. It was expanded in 2011 to include utility vehicles and again in 2017 to include any vehicle—including passenger vehicles—that’s stopped with its emergency lights flashing.
Drivers who fail to observe the Move Over Law can face three serious consequences:
- Striking an emergency responder, utility worker, or pedestrian
Two state troopers, a Metro Nashville Police officer, and a Tennessee Department of Transportation worker were killed from 2004 to 2005 on Tennessee’s highways and interstates because they were struck by passing vehicles. Drivers who don’t move over to adjacent lanes when passing stopped emergency, utility, or passenger vehicles are at high risk of striking emergency responders, utility workers, or pedestrians—which is extremely likely to cause critical and even life-threatening injuries.
- Crashing into a stopped emergency vehicle, utility vehicle, or passenger vehicle
Even if drivers manage to avoid striking people who have exited their vehicles, they may still be at risk of crashing into the vehicles themselves. As the story above highlights, emergency, utility, and passenger vehicles may be forced to stop on narrow shoulders or near the path of traffic. When drivers don’t change lanes, they may run out of room or drift into the path of the stopped vehicles, creating the risk of a serious accident.
- Getting a citation or ticket
Law enforcement officers throughout Tennessee are cracking down on drivers who fail to observe the Move Over Law—especially since it was expanded in 2011 and 2017. However, it’s important for drivers to remember that moving over isn’t required in all circumstances, as it can increase the risk of an accident in heavy and dense traffic. If there isn’t room to switch lanes, TDOT and the THP recommend slowing down and driving near the stopped vehicle with extreme caution instead.
Although accidents caused by failing to observe the Move Over Law aren’t as common as accidents caused by speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence, it’s still vital for all drivers in Tennessee to understand the risk factors of not changing lanes or slowing down when they approach stopped vehicles.
Awareness and caution can go a long way when it comes to staying safe on highways and interstates throughout the Volunteer State, and that includes situations when you see vehicles on the shoulder of the road.
If you or someone you know was hurt because a driver failed to move over or because he or she violated any other traffic laws, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. To find out how Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys can fight for your rights, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form. We’re ready to put our experience to work for your family.