GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — North Carolina’s “Move Over Law” protects emergency vehicles when working along the highways, and people that don’t follow the law could potentially injure the lives of people looking to make the roads safe.
The “Move Over Law,” known in all 50 states, went into effect in North Carolina in January 2002.
It states a vehicle must switch lanes if they can safely do so, away from any law enforcement or other emergency vehicles on the side of the highway.
The “Move Over Law” considers emergency vehicles as law enforcement, fire trucks and EMS.
Non-police vehicles like tow trucks, utility trucks and construction vehicles must display flashing amber-colored lights.
In a multi-lane highway, vehicles must move away from the shoulder of the road, leaving a safe buffer for the emergency vehicles to complete their tasks.
On two-lane highways, a car must move over or slow down to a safe speed until you pass the emergency vehicle.
Robert Watkins is a tow truck operator for Regional Auto Center in Greensboro. He said it’s been six times he’s had to dodge traffic trying to help police officers remove stranded vehicles from the side of the road.
“I take pride in what I do. I have been doing it for almost eight years. It’s a scary thought, not only for myself but for these officers too. Not just us. Fire, EMS, and construction workers are getting killed every day. Somethings got to be done,” said Watkins.
Watkins’s last encounter was on the side of I-40 in Greensboro early Tuesday morning, when traffic neglected to move over to the other lane or slow down while they were working.
“People were just coming by zooming past us, and even the cop car almost got hit a couple of times,” said Watkins.
Officer Tom Fetzer said the “Move Over Law” was made as a life-saving measure to protect drivers and emergency operators.
“At highway speeds, vehicles that are passing by emergency vehicles driving 60, 65, 70 miles an hour any type of crash or accident with a stopped vehicle at that particular speed could be deadly,” said Fetzer.
A violation of the “Move Over Law” will result in a mandatory fine of $250.00 plus court costs.
According to the State Department of Public safety, fines get increased to $500 along with the possibility of being charged with a felony if a collision occurs that results in injury or death.