So, to little fan fare and publicity, the North Carolina Traffic Law regarding the requirement to move over for emergency vehicles has recently changed. What requirements drivers face when approaching ’emergency vehicles’ has changed to include new ’emergency personnel’ that most people may not think to give consideration to. As a Raleigh Traffic Lawyer and Raleigh DWI Lawyer, I stay up-to-date on recent changes to the North Carolina Criminal codes so that I can better advise my clients. This change can have a lasting impact on those who are unaware of these new requirements. As most North Carolina drivers realize, when a Police Officer has someone pulled over on the side of the road, or there is an ambulance or fire truck on the side of the road, the driver is required to move over a lane and/or slow down and be prepared to stop until they have passed the police officer. However, the recent changes to the North Carolina Traffic Law N.C.G.S. 20-157 includes those same requirements for roadside assistance vehicles and emergency vehicles which have flashing yellow lights. The language of the statute does not specify a definition of ’emergency personnel’ or which vehicles constitutes a ‘safety vehicle.’ However, given the law does specify the flashing yellow lights, it would seem to include government roadside assistant vehicles for those stranded on North Carolina roads, as well as possibly tow trucks assisting those same drivers. The changes to this law include spelling out what consequences a driver could face should they violate this law. Should the driver fail to move over and/or slow down, they would face an infraction with a two hundred and fifty dollar fine. If property damage to the emergency vehicle in excess of five hundred dollars or personal injury to the emergency personnel occur as a result of negligence of the driver, the the Driver will face a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Should serious bodily injury or death result, the driver would face a Class I Felony. These consequences can be serious for the Defendant and should not be taken lightly. If you are facing these charges, or any other traffic ticket in Wake County or other criminal charges, contact the Matheson Law Office for your free consultation.
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