It was a successful saturation patrol for the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, according to McMinnville Police Department Lt. Mark Mara.
The department had seven officers working the saturation patrol and they conducted 28 traffic stops, which does not include the officers and stops made by Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Mara says his department did something unique during this saturation patrol by focusing on motorists who do not move over.
“In trying to make people understand there is a Move Over Law, we were working on that as well as the regular traffic stops looking for intoxicated drivers,” said Mara. “We had an officer set up a little ways behind the traffic stops. If someone didn’t move over or slow down, they got pulled over.”
The Move Over Law, which passed in 2006, is part of the “Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicles Law” (TCA 55-8-132) and requires motorists to move over into the adjacent lane of traffic, when safe to do so, or alternatively to slow down for emergency vehicles.
In 2011, the law was expanded to include utility service equipment to the list of vehicles for which motorists are required to either slow down or move over.
Tennessee was the 30th state to establish a Move Over Law which creates a safety zone to protect police, firefighters, other emergency personnel, and utility workers.
“We gave out two warnings for not moving over or slowing down,” said Mara. “We also gave out eight seatbelt violation tickets. We had no child restraint violations, which was great. It looks like that effort is paying off. We did give out one ice cream coupon from McMinnville Dairy Queen for having children properly restrained.”
Operation “Be A Survivor: Get A Designated Driver” receives funding from the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office.