N.C. Law Enforcement: “Move Over” Law Not Obeyed by Drivers

Two road workers suffered serious injuries after they were struck along Interstate-440 on a recent Tuesday afternoon by a motorist who slammed into the back of their North Carolina Department of Transportation truck, parked on the highway shoulder. constructionzone

Investigators in Raleigh say the Toyota passenger car that struck the pair was traveling 59 mph, which is 1 mph below the speed limit. One of the workers, age 44, was hit and pinned between the car and the NC DOT truck. Meanwhile, another worker, age 46, was tossed over a nearby guardrail. According to WNCN, CBS North Carolina, a 911 caller reported to emergency dispatchers that it appeared one of the workers had lost a leg, which was lying underneath the car. The man who was pinned in between the two vehicles was treated and released, but the other man was fighting for his life, in critical condition.

The driver of that passenger car, a 44-year-old woman from Morrisville, was treated by at a local hospital and then taken immediately thereafter to jail, where she was charged with violation of the state’s “move over” law. Her arrest warrant notes that while she was unable to safely change lanes to give the road workers more room without interfering with other traffic, she also failed to reduce her speed. 

According to law enforcement officials, the state’s “Move Over” law is ignored by drivers daily and puts at risk the lives of police, firefighters, construction workers and emergency responders. A sergeant with the North Carolina Highway Patrol revealed there have been two incidents in the last six months in which troopers were struck from behind. Two troopers have died in the last eight years in highway car accidents that could have been prevented if drivers had obeyed the state’s “Move Over” law.

N.C. Gen. Law 20-157 is the Move Over statute. It requires drivers who are approaching certain vehicles or public servants parked or standing within 12 feet of the roadway to either:

  • Move their vehicle into the lane that is not the nearest to the parked or standing authorized emergency service vehicle or public servant;
  • Slow down and maintain a safe speed for traffic conditions, being prepared to stop if necessary until completely passed the emergency vehicle or public service vehicle.

Vehicles protected under this provision include any public service vehicles with amber lights. Violation of the statute could result in a $500 fine. However, that is if no one is injured. In the event an accident resulting in injury occurs, at-fault drivers may face more serious charges.

As far as the workers who suffer injury or survivors of those killed, there may be several options for recovery of damages. First and foremost, our injury lawyers would explore the possibility of workers’ compensation coverage.

On top of that, workers may be able to collect damages from the at-fault driver/ insurer and possibly the owner of the vehicle (if different from the driver) or the driver’s employer (if applicable). If the at-fault driver did not have insurance or lacked adequate insurance coverage, the worker’s own private uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage may kick in to provide additional coverage for damages.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Car that hit NC workers on Beltline was traveling at 59 mph at impact, report says, May 12, 2016, By WNCN Staff

More Blog Entries:

Traynum v. Scavens and Progressive – UIM Auto Insurance Rules in South Carolina, May 9, 2016, Charlotte Car Accident Attorney Blog


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