Teams of law enforcement officers issued 230 citations to drivers during "Operation Move Over/Hazardous Moving Rutherford" as part of National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week Nov. 9-15.
Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers, Murfreesboro Police, Smyrna Police and Rutherford County Sheriff's deputies concentrated on the Move Over law and the Hands-Free driving law as part of the three-hour event Friday sponsored by the Rutherford County Traffic Safety Task Force.
The operation was designed to remind drivers to move over when they see emergency responders working on the side of the roadway and to reinforce the hands-free law of drivers holding their cell phones and talking or texting.
That message was emphasized when a driver struck a parked sheriff's deputy's car while the deputy helped with traffic control at a crash Saturday night on Interstate 24. The deputy was not involved in the crash and the other driver suffered minor injuries.
"The driver admitted to using his phone and didn't see the vehicle parked with its emergency lights on," THP reported in a Tweet. "These crashes can be avoided."
THP Lt. Jon Officer said the operation brought attention to drivers about moving over for emergency responders.
He referenced the Saturday crash involving the deputy's car.
"As a reminder, all it takes for a bad situation to happen is one distracted driver to possibly cause a tragic crash," Officer said. "We just want to make drivers aware of how important the ‘Move Over' law is when city police, deputies, state troopers and other emergency vehicles are on the shoulder. If you can't move over, at least slow down when you pass emergency vehicles."
During Friday's operation, one driver was charged with DUI, 29 drivers were charged with talking on their cell phones while driving and four drivers were charged with texting and driving.
Other citations issued were:
- 35 speeding on Broad Street and Mercury Boulevard in Murfreesboro and Lowery Street in Smyrna.
- 28 speeding on Interstate 24.
- 28 drivers not wearing seat belts.
- 34 drivers without insurance.
- Two drivers on suspended or revoked driver's licenses.