Police urge drivers to slow down, move over when they see flashing lights
Posted November 25, 2019 10:05 p.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2019 11:58 p.m. EST
Apex, N.C. — Every year, first responders are hurt or killed by drivers who are not paying attention.
"We’re asking people to be aware of what’s on the roadway, slow down and move over when you see flashing lights," Apex Police Chief John Letteney said Monday.
North Carolina adopted its Move Over Law almost two decades ago, requiring drivers to shift lanes, when possible, to provide a buffer for law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and utility technicians parked on the shoulder to respond to an emergency. On two-lane roads, drivers must slow down under the law.
State lawmakers toughened the penalties for violations this year, making it a felony if an officer or emergency worker is killed or seriously injured. The new law takes effect next Sunday.
Otherwise, violations result in a $250 fine, plus court costs.
"We want those responders to be safe as much as we want everyone to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, to get to their family and friends," Letteney said.
Slowing down and keeping an eye out for flashing lights isn't the message law enforcement wants to get out during the busy holiday travel season.
Last year, the State Highway Patrol investigated 355 fatal crashes in which a victim wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
"You have a duty as driver and a responsibility as a driver to slow down," Letteney said. "We’re asking people to be aware of what’s on the roadway, slow down and move over when you see flashing lights."