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Emergency crews remind drivers to 'Move Over'

Posted at 4:26 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 19:53:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — A law has been in place for more than a decade, forcing drivers to move over when they see emergency vehicles on the road. Just last year, the law was updated to include pulling into the next lane when any vehicle is stalled on the shoulder with the hazard lights on.

However, some drivers say it's hard to do so when there is so much construction along metro highways and Nashville streets.

"Simply slow down and move over; it's a huge problem in Tennessee," said Lt. Bill Miller, Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Sirens, engines and car horns are the sounds of Music City with traffic everywhere but do you, the driver, know what to do when you see flashing lights on the side of the highway?

"I'll just sit here and let him go by," said one man and another driver said "Pull to the right and pull over."

Lt. Miller said, "You’re required to move over into that lane; it’s the same as if there was a broken-down vehicle or highway maintenance construction site going on the side of the road; you are to move over in the next lane."

Tennessee's Move Over law was introduced 13 years ago and updated last year to include all vehicles that are on the shoulder with their flashing lights activated.

"We've had several troopers where their patrols cars have been struck," said Miller.

And one killed in 2005, Trooper Todd Larkins was struck by a tractor trailer on Interstate 40 in Dickson County. It was his death that spearheaded the need for the law.

"Ignorance of the law is not an excuse not to comply with the law," said Miller.

Highway Patrol tells us in 2017 nearly 2,100 drivers were cited for failing to move over; the numbers jumped in 2018 with 2,298.

But getting over to the next lane can be hard when you're hit with road blocks.

"I don't know what they're going to do, there's too much construction," said a driver.

Many interstates are now being narrowed down to one or two lanes, so here is what Tennessee Highway Patrol says you should do when you can't move over.

"If there's an area of construction or if there's no where for you to move over then you're simply required to slow down and go through the area at a safe reasonable speed," said Miller

Some drivers say the decision to move over is obvious.01:20:16

"Well obviously, I would you never know where they're going and it could be your family members."

The penalty for violating the Move Over Law in Tennessee is a maximum fine of up to $500 and possibly up to 30 days in jail.