North Carolina lawmakers OK 'move over' bill

| 7/8/2005

The North Carolina Senate has approved a bill that would more than double penalties for motorists in the state who don’t slow down or move over for emergency vehicles.

The bill, which previously passed the Senate, now heads to Gov. Mike Easley for his signature.

“If you ignore these vehicles … there are consequences,” Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Madison, recently told The Associated Press.

Motorists who fail to move to another lane when approaching an emergency vehicle that has its flashing lights on and is parked by the side of multilane roads or reduce speed while on a two-lane road could be fined $250.

Existing North Carolina law allows for a fine of up to $25 and $100 in court costs, The News & Observer reported.

Motorists whose inaction results in an accident, injury or death would face the increased penalty. If an emergency official is seriously injured or killed, offenders could get possible prison time and a six-month driver’s license revocation.

The bill – HB288 – comes in response to reports that judges are throwing out traffic citations against motorists because they say the public hasn’t been alerted to changes in North Carolina law, which passed in 2002.

At least 67 troopers have been injured on the job since 2003, the newspaper reported.

In an effort to educate all drivers of the current “Move Over” law, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is posting large signs on interstates near the state’s borders alerting motorists of the law.