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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Changes to Tennessee’s “Move Over Law” will go into effect Saturday, aiming to protect all motorists who are stranded on the side of the road.
Also known as the Jabari Bailey Highway Safety Act, the legislation requires drivers to switch lanes to move away from any vehicle that is parked on the side of the road with safety lights on.
Previously, the law only applied to emergency vehicles that were on the side of the road; the new law will work to protect motorists as well as road crews working near traffic.
“This increases it to any vehicle, that if they’re on the side of the road and their flashers have to be on, it is the responsibility of the motorist to move over, or if there is no lane to move over, either there’s too much traffic or they’re on a two-lane road and there’s no lane to move to, then they’re supposed to slow down,” said State Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville-District 6).
Massey sponsored the bill after hearing Memphis athlete Jabari Bailey tell the story of the accident that led to him losing his leg. He was hit by a driver who failed to move over and hit Bailey as he was working on his car roadside.
Mark Nagi of the Tennessee Department of Transportation explains just how people do not understand the dangers of driving too closely to those parked on the side of the road.
“Far too often, we see motorists don’t think it’s that fast if they’re going 40, 50 miles an hour, but that’s extremely fast when you’re thinking about people being sometimes only a few inches away from where those cars could be traveling,” Nagi said.
Nagi continued, “That’s the main thing that we’re trying to all stress here, anything that can be done to increase safety for our TDOT folks, for other emergency personnel, for motorists in general, that is certainly something we’re in support of.”
The new law also increases the fines owed for violating the law. First offenses will bring a fine of $250. Second offenses will cost $1,000 and three or more offenses will cost $2,500 each. Drivers could also face up to 30 days in jail.