In an effort to make state roadways safer for drivers and North Carolina workers alike, lawmakers have expanded the “Move Over” Law first put into effect in 2002. The original law required that motorists passing law enforcement and emergency-service vehicles stopped alongside the highway move over and slow down as they approached and passed them, Eastern North Carolina Today reports.
The goal was to reduce the risk of a North Carolina work injuries for those whose jobs require them to step out of their vehicles and onto roadsides during an emergency situation.
As of Dec. 1, North Carolina electric utility and emergency support service workers – such as wreckers – will be added to the list of those for whom drivers must address with caution. Or face a $250 fine, which can be doubled if the driver fails to move over and an injury occurs.
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. spokesperson Renee Whitener said the expanded law will protect electric utility workers who face especially hazardous conditions when working in post-storm or inclement weather restoring power to the regions 73,000 customers. “In our Blue Ridge operations room, line technicians have a wall of photos displayed of children, wives and loved ones — families they’re working hard to go home safely to at the end of the day. The new law could help prevent a needless accident by keeping us all more focused on safety as we share the roadways,” Whitener said.
Given that there are currently 7 ongoing highway road construction projects and 30 more in development, it is likely there will be further efforts to expand the law to protect road construction crews as well.
North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys with Lee & Smith know that being injured in a work-related accident can be a lifelong battle that will have physical, emotional and financial consequences. If you have been injured, or someone you love has been injured or killed in a work-related accident, call us at 1-800-887-1965 or contact our law offices online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.