Updated 10/01/2012 05:56 PM
Road workers feel safer with move over law expansion
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RALEIGH—Whether they are stopping cars or fixing a water main break, there is no question jobs that require flashing lights can be dangerous.
"We do have some motorist that just don't slow down, putting our guys at risk," said Raleigh Utility Safety Coordinator Carlos Perez.
In 2001 North Carolina established a Move-Over law requiring drivers to change lanes or slow down when they see emergency responders, law enforcement, or tow trucks on the side of the road.
However drivers do not always obey the law.
"Personally, we just had a Trooper in Madison County which is up in the mountains that was on a traffic stop and was struck and drug 70 feet. He is still in the hospital for that," said Sgt. Jeff Gordon of the State Highway Patrol.
Raleigh Water Distribution Superintendent Andy Brogden knows the dangers of the job all too well.
"I have personally been struck by a vehicle that disregarded our work zone and chose rather than following a detour route, to drive through a work zone," said Brogden.
Brogden and other utility and road maintenance workers are now happy the Move Over law is expanding to include amber lights.
"It's a tremendous advancement for the safety of utility workers," said Brogden.
Since January of last year, the Highway Patrol alone has issued 2,400 Move-Over citations. A number that's only expected to grow, but some say an easy price to pay in an effort to save lives.
"it just brings awareness to everyone else when you see amber lights period," said Perez.
The law requires drivers to move over at least one lane if possible when on the highway. On roads with only one lane, drivers must slow down and be ready to stop. If fined it could cost drivers around $438 after court costs.