On Sunday, January 31, 2016, a driver failed to move over when approaching the scene of an incident on I-75 as is required under Georgia law. The driver hit a Marietta fire truck and police car, causing significant damage.

Accident Details
According to police, William Powe, who failed sobriety tests at the scene and registered twice the legal blood alcohol content on a Breathalyzer, failed to move to the far left lane, despite the fact that other vehicles had done so in front of him. Police dashboard video from the car Powe hit shows him striking the side of the police car before his Jeep Cherokee then drove into the back of the fire truck. The police and firefighters were there to clear the scene of a previous accident. No one was injured in the crash involving Powe, although the police car was totaled. Powe was charged with driving under the influence after the crash.

Familiar Scene
Police say that drivers failing to move over when they approach an accident scene is becoming too common. Last summer, two accidents, similar to that which occurred on Sunday, happened on I-75. Police say that accidents like these are why Georgia implemented the state’s Move-Over Law that requires motorists to move to the left lane when they approach an accident scene. The law also requires motorists to move to the left when approaching a wrecker or a police officer conducting a traffic stop on the side of the road.

Georgia Move-Over Law
According to Georgia Code, Title 40-6-16, motorists who are approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights of amber, white, red, blue or yellow must approach with caution and, unless otherwise directed, move into a lane not adjacent with the emergency vehicle if at all possible. If a lane change is not possible or would create an unsafe condition, the driver must slow the vehicle to less than the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop if directed. Anyone convicted of violating the law may be fined as much as $500.

Statistics on Police Officer Injuries
According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2012, 120 police officers, 83 firefighters, 21 emergency medical services personnel and 34 tow operators died during traffic incidents throughout the United States. Many more first responders were injured while others reported hundreds of near-misses while performing their duties on roadways throughout the country. Traffic congestion caused by an accident, the multitude of flashing lights that may disorient another driver and impaired drivers who may be on the road in the vicinity of the crash are often reported as factors in accidents involving first responders at accident scenes.

Waggoner Insurance hopes every driver understands the need to move into another lane when approaching an accident scene, not only for their safety, but for the safety of the first responders who are assisting other motorists during an emergency. Waggoner Insurance would like to provide you with a review of all your insurance policies, whether it is life, home, auto or health, to be sure your family is protected in case of an emergency. Give us a call or visit us online today to arrange for a policy review.