CHARLOTTE, N.C. – North Carolina legislators passed – and Governor Cooper has just signed – Senate Bill 29, an act to increase the penalties for a violation of the current Move Over law.
Senate Bill 29, otherwise known as the “Officer Jason Quick Act,” officially makes it a felony for causing injury or death to emergency vehicle operators that are stopped on the side of the road to help others.
“This extension to the current Move Over law is a necessary step to help keep our first responders safe on the side of the highway and we applaud lawmakers for addressing the issue and commend Governor Cooper for signing it into law,” said George Figueiredo, Vice President of Member Services for AAA Carolinas. “Law enforcement along with our roadside assistance crews risk their lives every day when they stop alongside moving traffic to aid someone in need and they deserve protection while doing so.”
The Move Over law was enacted to protect State Troopers and other law enforcement officers as well as emergency vehicles and utility workers stopped alongside the highway. It is also extended to highway workers in temporary work zones.
The law requires that drivers – if they deem it is safe to do so – move a lane away from any law enforcement or emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Law enforcement, emergency and utility vehicles should be stopped with lights flashing to alert drivers to move over.
It is also required that motorists slow down and approach cautiously when driving by a stopped emergency vehicle.
“By increasing the penalty for violators of the Move Over Law, we can help change behavior behind the wheel and save lives,” added Figueiredo.
Drivers approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, utility vehicle or temporary work zone should:
- Significantly reduce their vehicle speed and keep vehicle under control.
- Approach the scene cautiously.
- If there is a second lane, motorists are required to change lanes away from the stopped vehicle.
- Maintain the reduced speed until fully clear of the situation.