NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A law meant to save first responders on Tennessee's busiest roadways is largely being ignored by thousands of drivers everyday and emergency personnel are worried it's only a matter time before one of them gets hit.
"You never expect them to get run over on the interstate, you expect people to have more sense than that but people just don't pay attention," Vera Dedman said on a cold fall day standing at her daughter Christy's grave site in Hickman County.
Vera's daughter, Christy Jo Dedman, was 34 years old when she was struck and killed by a semi-truck driver along the side of Interstate 40 while trying to help a stranded motorist on July 18, 2004.
At the time, the Move Over Law had been in place for just 17 days.
"And to think of how pretty she is and what she could've become. I don't think it was intentionally done he just wasn't paying attention," she said.
Since her daughter's death, Vera has pushed lawmakers in Tennessee to raise the fine for not moving over or slowing down for emergency first responders. Currently the fine sits at just $500.
"Is throwing a piece of trash on the road and getting a $500 fine, how can that be equated to the $500 fine to kill somebody?" she said.
Since records started being kept in 2005, 323 first responders were hit out on the roads. And according to Highway Patrol, 4,107 drivers have been ticketed for not moving over in just the last five years.
"It's a numbers game that at some point somebody is gonna get hit. It's just a matter of whose time it is," said Karl Wright, who drives a Help truck for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Karl said for the most part drivers are either on their phones or simply not paying attention to the flashing lights on his truck.
"Our lives are in the hands of the people that drive by, you don't know on a normal basis who is driving by," he said.
NewsChannel 5 also rode along with the Mt. Juliet Police Department recently to see how frequently drivers are blowing by first responders pulled to the side of the road without so much as a tap on the breaks.
"They're just not paying attention they're either eating or texting, I'm not sure if they're looking at their phone but they aren't paying attention," said Officer James Christensen as he was attempting to pull over a driver who flew past him in the far right lane of I-40 has he was trying to protect another officer during a traffic stop.
"It's sad it's gotten to the point where you expect people not to move over."
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.