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Penalties Strengthened for NC “Move Over” Law

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  December 12, 2019   |  

North Carolina drivers will face tougher penalties for violating the North Carolina “move over” law.

The so-called Move Over law protects North Carolina State Troopers as well as other law enforcement officers and emergency and utility workers stopped along the side of highways. The law requires motorists to slow down and react cautiously when approaching emergency or utility vehicles stopped on the shoulder of the road with lights flashing.

Increased Penalties for NC Move Over LawSenator Danny Britt, of Robeson and Columbus counties, and Senator Tom McInnis were the chief sponsors of the bill aiming to increase penalties for drivers who violate the move over law.

The Senate agreed to changes to the bill in response to the December death of a Lumberton officer, Jason Quick. Quick was killed when a passing car hit him during an investigation on I-95 in 2018.

Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Senate Bill 29, known as the “Officer Jason Quick Act.” It increases the penalty for such offenses from a Class I felony to a more severe Class F.

“Law enforcement officers like Jason Quick put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe,” Cooper said in a press release.  “This bill will increase penalties for those who recklessly endanger the lives of our first responders, and I’m proud to sign it in memory of Officer Quick and in honor of all our first responders.”

As of December 1, 2019, the Move Over law requires a more serious felony charge when serious injury or death occurs in these situations. Violating the law and injuring an emergency responder or utility worker in the process could now result in prison time for someone with an otherwise clean record.

The final bill also makes it unlawful for vehicles to use flashing as well as strobing amber lights, with a few exceptions.