NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An amendment to Tennessee's Move Over law went into effect on July 1, making it illegal to pass utility workers who are working on the shoulder of the road with out moving over into another lane or slowing down.
“That law already existed for police, fire and highway construction workers,” said Tom Purkey, General Manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “The utilities have been added so electric cooperatives and municipals across Tennessee and also other utilities, if they have vehicles with flashing lights, then the motorist are required to move over and slow down.”
The amended law was passed by legislators and signed into law on April 5 and became effective on Friday.
“We just think that is extremely important that people put that in their minds so that as they approach emergency vehicles with flashing lights that they will slow down,” said Purkey.
Violation of the Move Over law is considered a Class B felony and is punishable by a fine from $100 to $500 and or imprisonment up to 30 days.
Lineman Bob Halbert works for Middle Tennessee Electric.
He is glad the new law is in effect, and hopes it will draw attention to and help drivers understand the dangers of working beside a busy road.
“And maybe get an understanding of what we are trying to deal with and maybe they will start paying attention to what we are doing,” said Halbert.
For more information on the state's Move Over law, visit TN.gov.