MFD chief calls for stricter penalties for drivers who ignore ‘Move Over Law’

MFD Chief calling for stricter penalties for drivers who ignore ‘Move Over’ law
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 11:03 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:13 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Fire Department chief is calling for action after two firefighters were struck and injured by a driver Sunday morning on I-240 & Kerr Avenue.

Memphis Fire Chief Gina Sweat said she wants harsher penalties to be handed down for motorists who cause these accidents.

“Firetrucks are big and red, and they have a lot of lights. Ambulances are big and red, they’re that way for a reason,” said Sweat. “So, there’s almost no excuse for what’s going on.”

The ”Move Over Law,” is the state law Sweat is urging Memphis drivers to respect when they see police lights or emergency crews responding to a scene.

“It’s ridiculous that our first responders can’t do their job because they are in fear for their life,” said Sweat.

According to Memphis Police Department, while officers were responding to a pedestrian-involved car incident just after 3 a.m. Sunday on I-240 and Kerr Avenue, a driver struck two firefighters.

Both were injured, and one was in critical condition.

Despite the Move Over Law to remind drivers to slow down, beloved Memphis firefighter David Pleasant was killed in a crash back in August while responding to a call.

Friends say Memphis firefighter killed in crash was looking forward to retirement.”

Sweat said to prevent another tragedy from happening, she’s now calling for harsher penalties on motorists who cause these accidents.

“I actually talked to the mayor today, we’ve talked about this before. The law is out there, I just want to make sure that people are getting charged appropriately when they do things like this, and also, we’re going to go to the state and petition for even stronger penalties for people who are at-fault accidents that could be avoided,” said Sweat.

Sweat said this year, the city is on the way to beating the nearly 15,000 motor vehicle crashes the MFD responded to last year.

She hopes by making drivers more aware of the law, drivers will think about safety, pay attention and give more room on the road.

“I need the citizens of Memphis to slow down, I need you to move over, I need you to get off your cell phones when you’re driving,” said Sweat.

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