A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper escaped serious injury earlier this month when her parked patrol car was struck by another vehicle while she was investigating another auto accident. Law enforcement officials say the incident serves as a reminder for motorists to heed Tennessee’s “move over” law as they travel the highways.
THP Sgt. Diane Mays was sitting in the front seat of her patrol cruiser, which was parked off the left side of the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 11E in Washington County near the Greene County line, investigating a non-injury single-vehicle accident when she was struck from behind by another car. The impact spun Mays’ cruiser around and into the median where it hit the car involved in the wreck she was investigating.
The “move over” law requires motorists to slow down and use caution when they approach work zones, accident scenes and other areas where public safety officers are present. Drivers are expected to move to the left lane or slow down when they spot public safety vehicles parked in the emergency lanes of interstates and dual-lane highways. Drivers who fail to yield can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $50.
Tennessee became the 30th state to establish a safety zone to protect troopers, firefighters and other rescue personnel when the law went into effect in July 2004. Since that time, officials with the THP and Tennessee Department of Transportation have coordinated a public awareness campaign to educate motorists about the move over law.
Some drivers, however, are still not aware of their responsibilities under the move over law. It is, however, quite simple: Slow down and move to the left lane (if you can do so safely) whenever you see a law enforcement vehicle by the side of the interstate.