NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A bill in the Tennessee General Assembly would make obstructing a highway a felony. It would also grant immunity to drivers who unintentionally injure or kill someone blocking a highway.
The House Criminal Justice Committee is scheduled to take up HB 513 on Wednesday.
The bill would upgrade the offense of obstructing a highway or street from a Class B or C misdemeanor to a Class E felony. It would also apply to obstructing a railway, waterway, hallway, “or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles or conveyances.”
Class E felonies are punishable by up to six years in prison. The bill would also impose a mandatory $3,000 fine.
Under the legislation, if a driver “who is exercising due care” unintentionally injures or kills someone blocking a highway, the driver would be immune from prosecution for the injury or death.
The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.