A traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Wake County on Thursday showed the good, the bad and the illegal actions of drivers as they passed flashing lights.
Most drivers were observed obeying the Move Over Law. On a multi-lane highway, drivers are required to move at least one lane away. If heavy traffic blocks a move over, they should stay in their lane and slow down.
"One of my biggest concerns is being hit by vehicles while on a vehicle stop," said Trooper E.R. Yarbrough. "There were a lot of close calls out there."
Unfortunately, they're not all close calls. In August 2005, Trooper M.G. McLamb was struck by a van during a vehicle stop. He recovered, but the Highway Patrol hopes increasing the fine decreases similar incidents.
The Move Over law has been on the books since 2002. Still, one big problem with the law is that a lot of drivers really don't know that much about it. However, once they know the facts of it, motorists seem to support the idea.
"I think it's a good law," said driver Andy Silverthorne. "I think it's common courtesy as well. I mean, it's just a safe thing to do."
Since the Move Over law took effect four years ago, 74 troopers have been hit by drivers on traffic stops. One lawman died from his injuries. Numbers from the four years prior to the law taking effect aren't available. Either way, the Highway Patrol said it's simple.
"Move over and let us do our job," said Lt. Everette Clendenin.
Moving over is a good habit to get into -- the often forgotten law is on the books in 26 states. Fines can range from $50 to $500.
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