The Richmond Observer – Message from State and Federal Agencies to Motorists: Move or Slow Down for Stopped Emergency Vehicles

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RALEIGH — Every day, North Carolina law enforcement officers and other first responders take to the streets to keep people safe. And every day they put their lives on the line to do so. One of the most dangerous parts of a first responder’s job is going out to the side of the road, whether it’s for a traffic stop, to help a motorist or to investigate an accident.

That’s why, from May 6-8, the North Carolina Governor’s Traffic Safety Program is joining forces with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind motorists to move or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles during the “Move Over, It’s the Law” safety campaign. In addition to media and social media outreach, motorists will also see road signs reminding them of the law.

“Since 2017, 149 law enforcement officers have been killed in traffic-related incidents across the country, including in North Carolina. We implore everyone to do their part to keep our officers and other first responders safe as they work to help motorists on our roads. Move over if you see a stopped emergency vehicle, and if you can’t move, slow down when passing them,” said NC State Highway Patrol Commander Col. Freddy Johnson Jr.

“It’s not just about being a good citizen or a polite driver — it’s the law in North Carolina,” said NCGHSP director Mark Ezzell. “Motorists can face a fine of $250 or more if they don’t obey it.”

Displacement laws are in place in all 50 states. When the North Carolina law was passed in 2002, it ordered motorists to change lanes or slow down when they encounter a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.

In 2012, the law was revised to include “public service” vehicles. Public service vehicles are any vehicle used to assist motorists or law enforcement officers with damaged or broken down vehicles, or is a vehicle used to install, maintain or restore public service, including electricity , cable, telephone, communications and gas and displays an amber light .

This also includes NCDOT’s IMAP emergency response vehicles and tow trucks.

Find more information about North Carolina’s Move Over laws here: https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/law-enforcement/state-highway-patrol/laws/move-over-law

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