More than 30 new laws are now in effect in North Carolina, including one designed to make it safer for utility workers to perform routine roadside work. Most of the laws enforced starting October 1 were approved by the legislature earlier this year and signed by Gov. Bev Perdue.
The most noticeable change for motorists comes with the expansion of the state’s “move over” law, reports the Citizen-Times. The law initially directed drivers to move to another lane — or slow down when there’s just one lane — when nearing police cars or ambulances flashing their lights on a road shoulder.
The law expanded in 2010 to apply to electric utility workers working in an emergency to restore power. Now it also covers more utility crews doing nonemergency work and government road maintenance operations running their amber lights. Violators could pay $250 fines and court costs.
The laws aims to make it safer for workers on busy roadways.
Western North Carolina has been the site of some high-profile accidents involving workers this year. Two state Department of Transportation workers were killed in August when a vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a construction site west of Murphy. The vehicle struck the two workers and their dump truck, according to authorities. In May, a vehicle crashed into a construction site on U.S. 19 in Yancey County and left two people dead and another injured. A sedan left the road, ran through several construction barrels and a barricade and crashed into a cement truck.
More recently, a state Highway Patrol trooper was struck from behind last month while conducting a traffic stop in Madison County. Trooper Matt Mitchell was last listed in critical condition before the family requested privacy a few days after the incident. The Highway Patrol has yet to report any charges in the incident. Read More.