Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson recently proposed a $50.1 million plan to purchase body cameras for all 1,440 of the city’s police officers and to install new dash cameras on 880 department vehicles. Although Mayor Barry has been a staunch supporter of body cameras, she raised concerns at the hearing on March 16, 2017. Her concerns were centered on the cost of this proposal in light of similar programs implemented in other states that were far less costly. Despite Mayor Barry’s concerns, Chief Anderson appears to be of the mindset that if the department is going to do it, it better be done right, and the cameras must be working at all times in order to insure public confidence.

 
Police body cameras, which provide video footage of arrests and encounters between police and civilians, are considered one way to reduce the potential for police misconduct. These cameras could also aid persons who are criminally charged in presenting a defense in addition to rebutting an officer’s testimony. On the flip side, the State could benefit from the video footage if it is relevant to the case and use it against the defendant at trial. For example, in a driving under the influence (DUI) case, the reason why the driver was stopped often becomes an issue. Common reasons for a traffic stop include following too closely, swerving over a traffic line, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or running a red light. These “stop” issues, which fall under the probable cause standard, could be simplified by the video footage. In addition, incidents involving police officers using force or a citizen resisting arrest could also be clarified by video that will be preserved under this proposed plan.

 
To date, this proposed plan and its funding is essentially a work in progress, and we will keep you apprised of its progress and implementation. When and if the body and vehicle camera program is implemented, it will be a game changer in future criminal cases.

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On April 3rd the Tennessee Highway Patrol announced a campaign that will take aim at distracted drivers. We have all seen these drivers, and we maybe ones ourselves. This campaign includes placing troopers and local law enforcement in SUVs and tractor-trailers so that they can get a better vantage point to see if drivers are texting. The goal of the new campaign is to reduce traffic fatalities statewide.

Tennessee enacted the “Texting while Driving Law” in July of 2009. As a law firm that handles a large number of traffic citations, this law has not been enforced with any regularity until now. Texting while driving is covered under Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-199 and is a very specific statute. In part it reads:

“No person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a handheld mobile phone to transmit or read a written message.”

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) are both parts of your motor vehicle insurance policy and protect you and your passengers if you are hit by an uninsured or under insured driver. For example, let«s say you and your family are involved in a car wreck and the other driver is at fault. If you, or your family suffer personal injuries, or your vehicle is damaged, the other driver may not have sufficient insurance to cover the damages. If the at fault driver does not have any insurance at all, you may have no ability to recover these damages. Even worse, if you do not have health insurance or owe more on your car than it is worth, you may be in serious financial trouble.

Having sufficient uninsured motorist coverage is a way to protect you and your family from having this happen to you! Here is what you need to do. First, pull out the declaration page of your Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy and make sure you have UM/UIM coverage. Call your agent and get as much UM/UIM coverage as you can. It is cheap and worth every penny!

Joey Fuson, Esq.