Drivers slow down emergency crews by not moving over; growing pr - WSMV News 4

Drivers slow down emergency crews by not moving over; growing problem in Nashville

Posted: Updated:
A Nashville Fire Department truck had to wait after a semi truck pulled out in front of it. (WSMV) A Nashville Fire Department truck had to wait after a semi truck pulled out in front of it. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The growth around Nashville is prompting a growing problem for emergency crews – drivers failing to follow the law.

A law is on the books saying drivers must get out of the way of an ambulance or fire truck on an emergency call.

The Channel 4 I-Team partnered with the Nashville Fire Department to show how often drivers don’t get out of the way for emergency vehicles.

In one case, cameras caught a fire truck forced to come to almost a complete stop before going through an intersection because drivers weren't pulling over.

Firefighters on their way to another call that day had a semi-truck pull out right in front of them.

Those are just a couple of examples of what happens daily throughout Nashville.

And it’s not only happening to firefighters.

Law enforcement is also seeing the issue.

“It’s getting bigger,” said Lt. Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “It’s getting bigger daily.”

Over just a two-day time period, firefighters caught it happening again and again and again.

In one case, cars don’t get over to the right lane and it’s completely empty.

“We have to stay left and we need the traffic to move right,” said Nashville Fire Department Capt. Tim Holmes.

Holmes said it is a new reality as Nashville continues to grow, so does the number of drivers on the road. When drivers don’t move over, it slows down emergency responders.

To understand why it’s such a problem, listen to Jeannie Butler’s story.

“Oh it seemed like an eternity,” Butler said.

Two weeks ago she was getting ready to take her 11-year-old daughter to school when she found her unconscious. She called 911.

Butler explained to the dispatcher that her daughter had passed out under the kitchen table, she was blinking but couldn’t get her to respond.

She stayed on the line with the dispatcher for 6-1/2 minutes before paramedics finally arrived.

“Why does it take them so long,” Butler asked the dispatcher after waiting five minutes.

“Ma’am, they’re coming to you, and I’m on the line with them now.”

It’s unknown if the ambulance heading to Butler was delayed by drivers failing to move over, but firefighters said her daughter’s crisis is why the delay can cause such a problem.

“The quicker we get there and start taking care of the patient medically the better their chances are of surviving,” said Holmes.

Paramedics said there's only so much they can do. Their priority is getting to that emergency, which lets drivers off the hook.

However, if a police officer does see it, you'll join the other 1,176 people in Tennessee this year who have received citations for failing to get out of the way of emergency crews.

Firefighters hope that is the most effective way to drive home the importance is to remember Butler's daughter.

“It scares me, not just for myself, but for my other family members, my neighbors and friends that may be waiting on that service and they can't get through," said Butler.

By not moving over or failing to yield for emergency vehicles you're breaking the law. If a Metro Police officer catches you, you could be fined more than $100. If a State Trooper pulls you over, you could get a citation for $500 and even spend up to 30 days in jail.

Copyright 2016 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Drivers slow down emergency crews by not moving over; growing problem in NashvilleMore>>

Powered by Frankly
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.