Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NC To Cover Tow Truck Drivers Under "Move Over" Law

Round of applause! Here's the story from
Starting Dec. 1, North Carolina will expand its “Move Over” law to include service trucks driven by electric-utility workers responding to outages or other emergencies.

The law also includes wreckers and other vehicles on the scene of an emergency.

The current law, which was enacted in 2002, requires motorists passing an emergency-service vehicle — such as an ambulance, fire truck, or police car — that is operating a warning signal to move their vehicles into a nearby lane or reduce speed if they are unable to move over.

Failure to move over can create a safety hazard for the workers and can result in a fine for the driver of the vehicle.

A violation of the law can result in a $250 fine. The fine is doubled it someone is injured or property is damaged.

Officials for Progress Energy said crews already follow strict safety guidelines when working near roads.

Even with the precautions, the crews have still been part of incidents in recent years involving public vehicles striking stopped utility trucks.

“Our crews often work in hazardous conditions along roads to repair power poles and lines and restore service to the people who depend on us,” said Lloyd Yates, president and CEO of Progress Energy Carolinas. “Expanding the Move Over law to include them and their important work is a welcome change and will provide increased safety.”

Sgt. G.S. Hemby of the N.C. Highway Patrol said more vehicles now fall under the laws’ protection.

“If a driver had to call a wrecker, that would be covered,” Hemby said. “Any vehicle called to the scene by a motorist or emergency personnel would be covered under the law if they have flashing auburn-colored lights.”

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