The North Carolina House has unanimously approved a measure that would
change the state’s hit-and-run law.
Representatives voted Tuesday, Aug. 23, to accept the measure agreed to
by House and Senate negotiators. The compromise bill unanimously passed in the
state’s Senate earlier in the month. It now moves to Gov. Mike Easley for this
The existing state law prohibits the driver of a vehicle in an accident
from driving away from the scene until police arrive. But it contains a
loophole that allows a passenger to switch seats with the driver and drive away – with little threat of punishment, The
Associated Press reported.
The new measure, HB217, was sponsored by Rep. Pricey Harrison,
D-Guilford, and would outlaw that action.
Under the bill, if the driver or any passengers involved in an accident
that results in a death or serious injury move the vehicle before an officer
authorizes it to be moved, they could be charged with a felony. If the accident
caused significant property damage without serious injury, offenders would face
Only the driver and a passenger who takes over the wheel could be
Exceptions would be made if someone leaves the scene to get medical
attention or emergency help.