WAKE COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The Highway Patrol says a trooper's recent close call with a tractor trailer is a good reminder of the importance of North Carolina's "Move Over" law.
On Aug. 7, Tpr. A.G. Knight was conducting a traffic stop on US 64 in Wake County. As he spoke to the driver on the shoulder of the road, he suddenly heard the sound of skidding tires and the smell of burning rubber. He quickly ran for safety as an 80,000-pound semi came swerved and jack-knifed.
No one was hurt, but Highway Patrol says since 1999, more than 164 US law enforcement officers have been hit and killed by vehicles along America's highways.
Originally enacted in 2002, the Move Over law directs motorists to change lanes or slow down when passing a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the roadside. In the fall of 2012, the law was revised to include "public service" vehicles. Public services vehicles are described as any vehicle that is being used to assist motorists or law enforcement officers with wrecked or disabled vehicles, or is a vehicle being used to install, maintain or restore utility service, including electric, cable, telephone, communications and gas. These vehicles must display amber lights.
In part, the law states: Motorists who are driving on a four-lane highway are required to move their vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest the parked or standing authorized emergency vehicle or public service vehicle and continue traveling in that lane until safely clear of the authorized emergency vehicle.
Motorists who are traveling on a two-lane highway are required to slow their vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the vehicle at a reduced speed and be prepared to stop until completely past the authorized emergency vehicle or public service vehicle.
The penalty for violating the law is a $250 fine plus court costs. Motorists can face misdemeanor charges for causing personal injury or property damage greater than $500 and felony charges for severe injury or death in the immediate area of a stopped emergency vehicle or public service vehicle.