North Carolina’s “Move Over” traffic-safety law has been expanded again with new requirements – which take effect Monday – that drivers must change lanes or slow down when they see utility or road maintenance crews doing routine work, under flashing amber lights, on the road shoulder.
When it was first adopted in 2001, the law focused on reducing roadside hazards for police and other emergency workers.
Stiffer penalties have been added, and the protective umbrella has been expanded since then to protect other kinds of emergency workers, including utility crews restoring service after a crash or a storm.
The latest changes, adopted by the General Assembly in June, mark a big shift by extending the law beyond emergencies and other short-term situations. Now drivers must slow down or move over when they see many kinds of routine, and sometimes long-term work, under way on the shoulder – where the work vehicles are displaying flashing lights.
Utility companies sought the change, noting that it is hard for drivers to know whether roadside utility work is routine or related to an emergency. An electric utility lineman in Wayne County was killed last November when a tractor-trailer hit the boom of his utility truck.
More than 32,600 drivers have been convicted of Move Over violations since 2002. The penalty is a $250 fine.