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Rep. Jody Barrett proposes expanded penalty for intentionally blocking roads

A bill introduced by State Rep. Jody Barrett, R-Dickson, would expand the penalty for intentionally blocking roads from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

House Bill 2031 will make it a Class D felony to intentionally obstruct highways, streets, and other places used for the passage of vehicles or other motor vehicles. The bill makes it possible to bring a cause of action for victims who suffer injury or loss as a result of an obstruction.

“Intentionally blocking roads can have severe and deadly consequences,” Barrett said. “Tennesseans should be able to drive to work, school, the hospital and anywhere else they need or want to go without being held hostage by obstructions in the road. Tennessee Republicans are committed to finding solutions to make our streets safer and this bill encourages someone to think twice before intentionally and irresponsibly blocking roads.”

There have been several reports of people being unable to get to the hospital because of road obstructions. Street takeovers and street racing are becoming increasingly more common in cities across Tennessee. Dozens of cars performing dangerous stunts create dangerous situations on the roadways and block law-abiding citizens from reaching their destinations.

A Class D felony is punishable by two to 12 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.

House Bill 2031 this week advanced out of the Criminal Justice Committee and is scheduled to be heard in the Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee.

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