Starting October 1, drivers will have to take extra care when they’re passing trucks that are collecting garbage and recycling.
Under North Carolina’s current “Move Over Law” [Paragraph (f) of NC General Statutes 20-157], drivers are required to either slow down or, if there are at least two lanes and it’s safe to do so, move one lane away from any police, emergency, public service, highway maintenance or utility vehicle that’s parked within 12 feet of the road and is flashing warning lights. Drivers are required to stop before passing another vehicle if the roadway has only one lane of traffic in the direction traveled.
Despite all 50 states having similar laws in place, the North Carolina Department of Transportation estimates that most drivers aren’t really aware of them. North Carolina state troopers say they issued more than 1,400 citations to drivers who violated the law in 2013.
Failing to slow down or move over could result in a citation that comes with a mandatory fine of $250 (plus court costs and a possible increase in insurance points). Damage or injuries resulting from a failure to move over brings a fine of $500. If significant damage is caused to the area of the emergency vehicle — or if emergency personnel or utility crew members are injured — the person is charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Serious injury or death caused by violating this statute can be punished by a Class I felony, along with a six-month license suspension.
The updated “Move Over” Law passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory on May 21. It becomes effective October 1, 2015.