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Who has the right of way?

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

The wreck in Hawkins County Saturday, involving an ambulance, sparked a lot debate- who has the right of way?

News Channel 11 spoke with the Johnson City Firefighters and Washington County Deputies. When answering an emergency call with lights and sirens on responders are allowed to speed or run red lights. When they approach they are not only asking for the right of way, you must pull over to the right side of the road, and reduce speed or stop if necessary until they have passed.

"We would like for them to pull over to the right side of the road, to give us right away through," said Sgt. Jason Eggers, Johnson City Fire Department. "It's for the general publics safety, and our safety, because if we don't get there then we're not doing anyone any good."

The Move Over Law was enacted in 2006. When responders are on the shoulder on the right side of the road drivers must move to the left, and slow down. In 2011, the law was expanded to include utility service equipment and vehicles.

According to state code, if you do not move over in any of these situations you can receive a ticket for 'failure to yield' which is a misdemeanor.

Copyright 2013 WJHL. All rights reserved.


Related articles:

THP confirms 1 dead in crash involving ambulance


55-8-108.  Authorized emergency vehicles.

  (a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call, or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law, or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions stated in this section.

(b)  (1) A driver of an authorized emergency vehicle operating the vehicle in accordance with subsection (a) may:

      (A) Park or stand, notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter that regulate parking or standing;

      (B) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;

      (C) Exceed the speed limits so long as life or property is not thereby endangered; and

      (D) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

   (2) Subdivision (b)(1) shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall subdivision (b)(1) protect the driver from the consequences of the driver's own reckless disregard for the safety of others.

(c)  (1) The exemptions granted under subsection (b) to a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle shall only apply when the vehicle is making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state, except that while parked or standing, an authorized emergency vehicle shall only be required to make use of visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state.

   (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, while parked or standing, from making use of both audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state, in the discretion of the driver.

(d) An authorized emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle may be equipped with or display a red light only in combination with a blue light visible from in front of the vehicle.

(e) Notwithstanding the requirement of this section that drivers of authorized emergency vehicles exercise due regard for the safety of all persons, no municipality or county nor the state or any of its political subdivisions, nor their officers or employees, shall be liable for any injury proximately or indirectly caused to an actual or suspected violator of a law or ordinance who is fleeing pursuit by law enforcement personnel. The fact that law enforcement personnel pursue an actual or suspected violator of a law or ordinance who flees from pursuit shall not render the law enforcement personnel, or the employers of the law enforcement personnel, liable for injuries to a third party proximately caused by the fleeing party unless the conduct of the law enforcement personnel was negligent and that negligence was a proximate cause of the injuries to the third party.

HISTORY: Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 7; T.C.A., § 59-808; Acts 1986, ch. 822, § 1; 1989, ch. 173, § 1; 2001, ch. 60, § 1.

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55-8-132.  Operation of vehicles and streetcars on approach of authorized emergency vehicles.

  (a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state, or of a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal only:

   (1) The driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer; and

   (2) Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, as stated above, the operator of every streetcar shall immediately stop the streetcar clear of any intersection and keep it in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

(b) Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the vehicle is giving a signal by use of flashing lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

   (1) Proceeding with due caution, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least four (4) lanes with not less than two (2) lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

   (2) Proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

(c) Upon approaching a stationary recovery vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle, or utility service vehicle, when the vehicle is giving a signal by use of authorized flashing lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

   (1) Proceeding with due caution, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary recovery vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle, or utility service vehicle if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least four (4) lanes with not less than two (2) lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

   (2) Proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

(d) For the purpose of this section unless the context otherwise requires:

   (1) "Highway maintenance vehicle" means a vehicle used for the maintenance of highways and roadways in this state and is:

      (A) Owned or operated by the department of transportation, a county, a municipality or other political subdivision of this state; or,

      (B) Owned or operated by a contractor under contract with the department of transportation, a county, a municipality or other political subdivision of this state;

   (2) "Recovery vehicle" means a truck that is specifically designed for towing a disabled vehicle or a combination of vehicles; and

   (3) "Utility" means any person, municipality, county, metropolitan government, electric cooperative, telephone cooperative, board, commission, district or any entity created or authorized by public act, private act, or general law to provide electricity, natural gas, water, waste water services, telephone services, or any combination thereof, for sale to consumers in any particular service area.

(e)  (1) The first violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or imprisonment not longer than thirty (30) days, or both.

   (2) A second violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

   (3) A third or subsequent violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(f) This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, a recovery vehicle or a highway maintenance vehicle from the duty to operate the vehicle with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

(g)  (1) A person violating this section may also be prosecuted and convicted for the offense of:

      (A) The Class E felony of criminally negligent homicide under § 39-13-212, if the conduct giving rise to the violation of this section is criminally negligent, as defined in § 39-11-302(d), and results in the death of another;

      (B) The Class D felony of reckless homicide under § 39-13-215, if the conduct giving rise to the violation of this section is reckless, as defined in § 39-11-302(c), and results in the killing of another; and

      (C) The Class C felony of vehicular homicide under § 39-13-213, if the conduct giving rise to the violation of this section is reckless, as defined in § 39-11-302(c), proximately results in the killing of another and the conduct created a substantial risk of death to another.

   (2) Nothing in subdivision (g)(1) shall be construed as precluding a person who violates this section from being prosecuted and convicted under any other applicable offense.

HISTORY: Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 31; T.C.A., § 59-832; Acts 2003, ch. 384, § 1; 2006, ch. 653, § 1; 2008, ch. 869, §§ 1, 2; 2011, ch. 40, §§ 1-3.

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