The officer with Metro Nashville Police who was seriously injured when his patrol car was struck by an SUV on Tuesday in Davidson County is still recovering in a local hospital.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the crash occurred at around 6:30 p.m. on W. Old Hickory Boulevard near Cedar Hill Park at around 6:30 p.m. An investigation by Metro Nashville Police revealed that the driver of the SUV veered into a lane of oncoming traffic before striking the officer’s patrol car. The impact of the collision caused the officer to suffer several broken bones.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene to question the driver of the SUV, they found that he smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. After being transported to a local hospital to receive treatment, police say he will be charged with vehicular assault and DUI when he’s released.
His 30-year-old passenger was also charged with DUI, as she was also intoxicated at the time of the crash and was allowing the 44-year-old driver to drive her SUV.
3 Tips for Driving Safely around Emergency Vehicles
Police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles are essential for keeping Nashvillians and both visitors and residents of the Volunteer State safe in their homes, in public places, and on roadways.
But for the emergency responders who drive and ride in these vehicles to be effective at responding to emergencies, they often must exceed speed limits, drive in lanes of opposing traffic, or run red lights and stop signs. Their lights and sirens can help drivers avoid accidents when they’re near these vehicles, but drivers should also know a few basic safety tips to further decrease their risk of collisions.
The next time you’re driving near an emergency vehicle, do your best to follow these three important tips:
- Stop when an emergency vehicle is approaching you with lights flashing.
If you see an emergency vehicle heading towards you from behind or in the opposite lanes of traffic, prepare to stop in a safe place immediately. Try to avoid stopping in intersections or in front of cross streets, as the driver of the vehicle may need to turn in that direction. Avoid passing emergency vehicles if they stop directly in front of you—instead, for wait for emergency responders to give you directions on when it’s safe to pass.
- Move over for stopped emergency vehicles.
Tennessee’s Move Over Law requires that all drivers change lanes or slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles. That includes police cars, highway patrol cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles. However, it was amended in 2011 to include utility vehicles, and again in July 2017 to include any stopped vehicles with flashing emergency lights.
- Don’t put yourself at risk when an emergency vehicle is nearby.
While emergency responders want to reach victims and people who need assistance as quickly as possible, they are also trained to do so in a manner that puts as few drivers and passengers at risk as possible. If you’re in heavy traffic or can’t easily pull over to the side of the road, don’t perform any maneuvers that could put you or others at risk, such as cutting off other vehicles or suddenly swerving into oncoming traffic to create a path.
There’s an important distinction between being courteous and cautious when emergency vehicles are nearby and driving recklessly when you encounter one that’s flashing its lights or blaring its sirens. Stay calm and do your best to clear a path for emergency responders, but make sure that you avoid blocking intersections or putting other drivers at risk.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys knows how important emergency responders are to all residents of the city and Davidson County. Their bravery and dedication to their jobs saves countless lives every year.
Unfortunately, emergency responders can’t prevent all accidents from occurring, especially when drivers are negligent. If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash that was caused by a careless driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. We’ve assisted victims like you for decades, and we know what it takes to win. Get in touch with us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online form.