Press Release: A recent harrowing experience serves as a reminder to motorists to Move Over. On Aug. 7, Trooper A. G. Knight was conducting a traffic stop on US 64 in Wake County, a practice he had done time and time again. But this day would be like no other day. As he spoke to the driver on the shoulder of the roadway, he suddenly heard the sound of skidding tires and the smell of burning rubber. With 80,000 pounds of metal bearing down on him, he ran for cover out of harm’s way.
Thankfully, in this case, everyone walked away without a scratch. However, not all law enforcement officers have been so lucky. Since 1999, more than 164 U.S. law enforcement officers have been struck 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Originally enacted in 2002, the Move Over law directs motorists to change lanes or slow down when passing a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the roadside.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.
The Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety have been working to educate motorists about the Move Over law since its inception. Surprisingly, one study has revealed that over 71 % of the motoring public across the U.S. are unaware of this law.
Throughout the state, numerous signs are erected stating Move Over or Reduce Speed for Stopped Emergency Vehicles. The signs are installed along interstate and U.S. routes to educate and warn motorists but more importantly, save lives.
For more information on the Move Over law, please contact First Sergeant Jeff Gordon at (919)733-5027 or [email protected].