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'Move Over' law now protects more road workers in North Carolina

Every year, road, rescue and utility workers are killed or seriously injured in accidents caused by negligent, reckless or distracted drivers in North Carolina. Those who work near busy highways and roads know that their jobs are particularly dangerous, but motorists also have a responsibility to drive safely, especially when passing road workers, in order to avoid causing serious or fatal accidents.

Last week, a new law finally went into effect to better protect those who work on busy highways and roads in North Carolina. The new law now requires all motorists to be more cautious when passing maintenance and utility workers on the road. This is certainly good news for those who have already had some close calls while doing their jobs, and hopefully the broadened "Move Over Law" will encourage all motorists to drive more carefully when passing any stopped vehicle on the highway.

You may already be aware of the "Move Over Law," which was passed more than 10 years ago. This law requires motorists in Fayetteville and throughout the entire state to either slow down or move over one lane when passing a police car, an emergency services vehicle or a fire truck that is stopped on the shoulder of the road. When the blue lights are flashing on these vehicles, motorists are warned that workers are out of their vehicles and responding to emergencies or conducting traffic stops.

Now, when motorists see flashing amber lights, they must make sure that they give utility and maintenance workers enough space on the road to do their jobs safely, too. The expanded "Move Over Law" went into effect Oct. 1.

This new law will hopefully prevent more construction workers, tow truck drivers and road surveyors from being injured on the job. However, this law should also remind drivers to be more careful when passing any stalled or stopped vehicle on the road. A motorist who is changing a flat tire or checking on some other auto issue could be seriously injured or killed by a passing vehicle or distracted driver.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "North Carolina broadens 'move over' law," Steve Lyttle, Oct. 2, 2012

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