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Harsher penalty possible for violation of Move Over law

Last week, North Carolina lawmakers passed an expansion to the state’s “Move Over” law, making prison time possible for those who violate it. 

The move over law requires drivers to slow down and move one lane over if they see a first responder on their side of the road. The revision comes after Lumberton police officer Jason Quick was hit and killed while investigating an accident. 

Currently, those who violate the law are required to pay a $250 fine, plus court costs. If a person is injured or property is damaged because of the violation, the fine doubles. Members of the N.C. House are trying to implement a heftier fine involving jail time. 

“It’s pretty well followed now,” Stanly County Sheriff Jeff Crisco said. “Now that the law has been in place for several years, people do adhere to it.” 

During his time as a patrol officer, Crisco admits he saw drivers who were not abiding by the law. He said there was not a particular group he saw breaking it. 

“There was no difference in age,” Crisco said. “It could have been a 16-year-old or a 60-year-old.”

Crisco said the law was implemented to protect the lives of first responders. 

Training focuses have changed because of the incident in Lumberton last year. When they go through training, first responders are instructed on how to position their emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Still, a lot of their safety depends on drivers who obey the move over law. 

The change to the law could become official in the next few days, as the bill awaits a signature from Gov. Roy Cooper.

Contact Evan Moore at 704-982-0816.