THP and TDOT Work to Increase Awareness of State’s Move Over Law
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol will work in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to both enforce and create a greater awareness of the state’s Move Over law, which requires that drivers change lanes when approaching stopped emergency and utility vehicles.
Per a report by WKRN.com, three workers with TDOT were killed in accidents in 2016. The campaign to increase awareness and enforcement is called Operation SOS, and it involved 17 troopers working from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Davidson County.
A total of 41 citations were issued for Move Over law violations, and troopers also wrote one citation for texting and driving and arrested one driver for DUI.
A THP trooper reminded drivers that they are required to change lanes and move over any time they see a stopped emergency vehicle with blinking lights on the side of the road. That includes THP vehicles, TDOT vehicles, and even tow trucks.
The most recent TDOT fatality occurred in December when a Help Truck worker was struck by a vehicle on Interstate 40 after he had stopped to help a driver change a flat tire.
Why Is Moving Over for Stopped Emergency Vehicles So Important?
Tennessee passed the Move Over law in 2006 to protect emergency responders. The law requires that drivers move over into adjacent lanes of traffic when it’s safe to do so, or to slow down when they don’t have room to move over. In 2011, the law was expanded to include utility service equipment vehicles.
This law and the required action of moving over are important for several reasons, such as:
Between 1999 and 2014, 213 law enforcement officers were killed due to being struck by passing vehicles on interstates and highways in the U.S. Many more officers have been seriously injured during that time by vehicles that drifted onto roadsides and shoulders. Law enforcement officers and emergency responders put their lives at risk every time they exit their vehicles on busy and high-speed roadways, and adding an extra lane or extra room between themselves and passing traffic can help reduce their risks.
Emergency responders and utility workers aren’t the only ones at risk for being seriously injured or killed when drivers fail to move over. Drivers and their passengers are also likely to suffer critical injuries if they collide with stopped emergency and utility vehicles on roadsides. These accidents can become multi-vehicle accidents when they occur on high-speed roadways and in dense traffic.
Traffic citations for failing to move over are expensive and completely avoidable. Law enforcement officers in Tennessee issued 12,813 citations for violating the Move Over law between 2006 and 2014, with 262 citations occurring in Davidson County alone. People who are convicted of failing to adhere to the Move Over law can face stiff penalties, including maximum fines of up to $500 and even 30 days in jail.
Polls indicate that more than 70 percent of Americans are unaware of Move Over laws. The first Move Over law was enacted in South Carolina in 1996 after a paramedic was struck and injured at an accident scene. Since then, all 50 states have passed Move Over laws protecting emergency responders who must exit their vehicles on roadsides and shoulders.
Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville auto accident attorneys knows how important Move Over laws are when it comes to protecting the health and safety of law enforcement officers, emergency responders, utility workers, and other motorists on highways and interstates. We also know that when drivers fail to adhere to this law, they put themselves and others at risk of being seriously injured.
If you or someone you know was injured in an auto accident due to a driver’s failure to move over—or due to any other form of driver negligence—you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can assist you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form. We know what it takes to help you recover money for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and we’ll fight for your rights to get the money you deserve.