Updated Move Over law into effect for roadside utility and maintenance crews
By From staff reports
Published in News on October 3, 2012 1:46 PM
A new version of the law that requires motorists to change lanes or slow down to avoid emergency and law enforcement vehicles went into effect Monday.
It now includes roadside utility and maintenance crews bearing flashing amber lights.
Beginning Oct. 15, a second law will introduce new permanent plates and a new process for one to be issued. The law requires all currently issued permanent plates to be canceled and re-issued under new eligibility rules by Dec. 31.
The state established move-over requirements for drivers in 2001. The law previously covered emergency responders, law enforcement vehicles, tow trucks, and Incident Management Assistance Patrols operated by the by the state Department of Transportation.
The General Assembly voted in June 2012 to include utility and road maintenance operations displaying amber lights -- including some N.C. Department of Transportation work sites -- on the list of situations where drivers legally are required to steer clear to help prevent accidents.
Drivers are specifically instructed to move over at least one lane when two or more lanes are available in each direction. On roads with only one traffic lane in each direction, drivers must slow down and be prepared to stop.
Drivers who fail to follow the Move Over law may be fined $250 plus court costs.
Forty-seven states have enacted similar laws requiring drivers to slow down and, if possible, change lanes to avoid police cars, emergency responders and other types of official vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
The new permanent plate law requires vehicle owners, depending on their eligibility for the plates, to purchase either replacement permanent plates or standard "First in Flight" plates by the December deadline.
A one-time $6 fee is required for permanent plates. Standard registration plates cost $28-$33.
New orange and black plates will replace the current silver and black permanent plates. Beginning Oct. 15, the state Division of Motor Vehicles will no longer issue silver and black plates.
Current permanent plate holders will be notified by letter to replace their plates. About 120,000 vehicles will be affected by the change, mostly vehicles that are owned and operated by municipalities and counties across the state.
The new law limits eligibility for permanent registration plates to governmental entities and certain other groups.
Those approved for permanent plates include vehicles owned by a county, city or town; a board of education; the Civil Air Patrol; an incorporated emergency rescue squad; a rural fire department, agency or association; community colleges; or local chapters of the American National Red Cross and used for emergency or disaster work. All other vehicles must obtain standard registration plates.
Examples of vehicles that will no longer be eligible for permanent plates include those operated by orphanages, church buses, mobile X-ray transports, sheltered workshops, non-profit mental health transports, city trolleys and parade vehicles of charitable organizations.
All vehicles still have to pass required annual safety and emissions inspections prior to obtaining new registration plates, whether permanent or standard.
New permanent plates will be available from license plate agencies or by mail accompanied by form MVR-619 from Vehicle Services, 3148 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-3148.