(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state, or of a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal only:

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 55-8-132

  • Authorized emergency vehicle: means vehicles of the fire department, fire patrol, police vehicles or bicycles and emergency vehicles that are designated or authorized by the commissioner or the chief of police of an incorporated city, and vehicles operated by commissioned members of the Tennessee bureau of investigation when on official business. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Code: includes the Tennessee Code and all amendments and revisions to the code and all additions and supplements to the code. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Department: means the department of safety. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Driver: means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Highway: means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way when any part thereto is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Intersection: means :

    (A) The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two (2) highways that join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the areas within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101

  • Operator: means every person, other than a chauffeur, who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a highway or who is exercising control over or steering a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Person: means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association or corporation. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Police officer: means every officer authorized to direct or regulate traffic or to make arrests for violations of traffic regulations. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Right-of-way: means the privilege of the immediate use of the roadway. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Road: includes public bridges and may be held equivalent to the words "county way" "county road" or "state road". See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Roadway: means that portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Streetcar: means a car other than a railroad train for transporting persons or property and operated upon rails principally within a municipality. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Traffic: means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Truck: means every motor vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101
  • Vehicle: means every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. See Tennessee Code 55-8-101

(1) The driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer; and

(2) Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, as stated above, the operator of every streetcar shall immediately stop the streetcar clear of any intersection and keep it in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

(b) Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the vehicle is giving a signal by use of flashing lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

(1) Proceeding with due caution, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least four (4) lanes with not less than two (2) lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

(2) Proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

(c) Upon approaching a stationary recovery vehicle or a highway maintenance vehicle, when the vehicle is giving a signal by use of authorized flashing lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

(1) Proceeding with due caution, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary recovery vehicle or the highway maintenance vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least four (4) lanes with not less than two (2) lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

(2) Proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

(d) For the purpose of this section unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Highway maintenance vehicle” means a vehicle used for the maintenance of highways and roadways in this state and is:

(A) Owned or operated by the department of transportation, a county, a municipality or other political subdivision of this state; or,

(B) Owned or operated by a contractor under contract with the department of transportation, a county, a municipality or other political subdivision of this state; and

(2) “Recovery vehicle” means a truck that is specifically designed for towing a disabled vehicle or a combination of vehicles.

(e) (1) The first violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or imprisonment not longer than thirty (30) days, or both.

(2) A second violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(3) A third or subsequent violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(f) This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, a recovery vehicle or a highway maintenance vehicle from the duty to operate the vehicle with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

(g) (1) A person violating this section may also be prosecuted and convicted for the offense of:

(A) The Class E felony of criminally negligent homicide under § Code Sec. 39-13-212″>39-13-212, if the conduct giving rise to the violation of this section is criminally negligent, as defined in § 39-11-302(d), and results in the death of another;

(B) The Class D felony of reckless homicide under § 39-13-215, if the conduct giving rise to the violation of this section is reckless, as defined in § 39-11-302(c), and results in the killing of another; and

(C) The Class C felony of vehicular homicide under § 39-13-213, if the conduct giving rise to the violation of this section is reckless, as defined in § 39-11-302(c), proximately results in the killing of another and the conduct created a substantial risk of death to another.

(2) Nothing in subdivision (g)(1) shall be construed as precluding a person who violates this section from being prosecuted and convicted under any other applicable offense.

[Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 31; T.C.A., § 59-832; Acts 2003, ch. 384, § 1; 2006, ch. 653, § 1; 2008, ch. 869, §§ 1, 2.]