Local News

N.C. Law Intended To Clear Road After Minor Accidents Confusing

Posted December 31, 2003

— A minor accident can lead to a major traffic mess. It is a problem that costs drivers valuable time.

A law passed in October is supposed to keep cars moving, but some say

North Carolina's Quick Clearance Act

is not as clear as intended.

The North Carolina General Assembly passed the act in October. Under the act, if there are no injuries and the damage is minor, drivers are urged to move the wreckage out of the road immediately.

"If it's minor damage and no one's injured, then there's no problem with drivers pulling their vehicles out of the roadway so that other motorists and commerce can pass by," said 1st Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol.

Insurance agents said they are still urging clients to stay put until officers arrive.

"It's very, very important that drivers don't move from the accident -- that they make sure that they stay there, wait for the police to report, wait for them to show up. Then they have that exchange of information so there is documentation of what really took place at the accident," said Robert Williams of Nationwide Insurance.

Dascheil Propes, chief deputy commissioner of the state Department of Insurance, said the new law will force a big change in the way drivers react to a wreck.

"It is going to be an education process for the public to understand that in some situations it is not harmful to move your vehicles," he said.

Propes recommends if the accident is minor and the fault is obvious, go ahead and clear the vehicles out of the way. If you are not sure, stay put until officers arrive.

The Quick Clearance Act does not spell out penalties for not clearing the way.

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