‘Move over law’ often ignored by drivers, TN law enforcement says

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — A state law meant to protect those who protect us is being ignored every single day by drivers across the state and officers said it is putting their lives at risk.

We are talking about the “Move Over” law.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 9.01.12 PM“Some of the most routine of calls could become our worst nightmare,” Madison County Fire Marshal Don Friddle said. Over the years, hundreds of people working on the side of Tennessee Highways have been killed on the job.

“Unfortunately, us and TDOT and other agencies, we’re getting good at having funerals and that’s just not what we want,” Lt. Brad Wilbanks with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said. “But we’re getting so accustomed to it because it’s happening so frequently.”

Less than a year after a tragic accident involving a trooper Tennessee lawmakers decided take a stand.

“It was obvious that we needed some attention brought to it,” Lt. Wilbanks said. “So many workers were getting struck and killed.”

Since 2006 the “Move Over” law has been in place to help protect those who protect us.

“You have to dictate common sense sometimes,” Wilbanks said. “Some people just don’t use it so you have to make laws to say this is what you should do.”

Under the law, drivers must pull to the adjacent lane or slow down when emergency vehicle or utility workers are parked on the side of the road or responding to a call.

“I don’t know how many people have ever stood within three feet of moving semi truck that’s traveling 60-65 mph, but it’s not a good feeling,” Friddle said.

But people violate this law dozens of times every day even here in Madison County.

“Responding to a call is more dangerous than getting on fire scene and putting it out,” Friddle said. “That’s the part that really makes me nervous.”

Friddle said he was on his way to a recent call when a driver rolled through a stop sign to try and get ahead him.

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“So many people will try and beat a fire truck or an ambulance and I just can’t comprehend why,” Lt. Wilbanks said. “If you see it coming it’s 10 seconds, just give them 10 or 15 seconds.”

Although moving over may seem like common sense to many it is the troopers, firefighters, tow truck drivers and TDOT crews whose lives are in your hands.

“We want to live so work with us,” Wilbanks said. “We’re doing this for you. We’re out there trying to serve the public so let us do our jobs and stay alive.”

Since the “Move Over” law’s inception in 2006 almost 13-thousand people have been cited by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Violators face a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.

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