(Memphis) They can come out of no where, emergency vehicles with sirens blasting.
What you do in a split second can determine a lot.
Moving over is not just a courtesy, it’s the law.
We found many drivers aren’t following the law.
We put a camera on the inside a fire department truck when it headed to an emergency.
The cars around it are supposed to clear the way, move over and let the emergency vehicle pass.
Some vehicles made the move, but others clearly disregard the siren and lights.
“In our business every second counts,” said Memphis Fire Director Alvin Benson.
“Unfortunately, we don’t always get the cooperation from drivers on the street. Believe it or not we have lights, sirens in emergency mode on the streets of Memphis and drivers just don’t move over. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t hear us or don’t see us or they are confused about what to do. But the law is very, very clear.”
The drivers are breaking the ‘Move Over Law’.
In Tennessee, when an emergency vehicle is approaching, with sirens and lights going, state law says other vehicles must yield the right of way by pulling to the right hand edge of the road until the emergency vehicle passes.
It’s a Class B misdemeanor to not move over.
You can be fined up to $500 and jailed up to 30 days.
“Quite often the officers are pulling them over and they are ticketing them for not yielding to emergency vehicles,” said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich says many of the cases are easy to prosecute and if someone is injured, it could turn into a felony charge, “If you get a police officer that sees this happening, citizens in the area that can testify I was on the road and here is what was happening, what this driver failed to do, that makes for a pretty easy case to prosecute.”
The ‘Move Over Law’ also applies to emergency vehicles that are already at a scene when you approach.
You must still move over and slow down.
We asked police, the District Attorney’s Office and the Court Clerk for the number of tickets written for disregarding the ‘Move Over Law.’
They all referred us to other departments.
When we get the numbers, we will pass them on to you.