North Carolina has a “Move Over” law in effect that requires all vehicles that are traveling on North Carolina roads and highways to move out of the way of active emergency vehicles. In addition to moving out of the way, cars are required to move over or drop their speed when passing a stopped emergency vehicle that has its lights on.
According to the Move Over Law, vehicles must:
• Move over one lane or reduce their speed significantly if they cannot move over when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road with their lights on. Violation of this law is a Class 2 Misdemeanor and offenders will receive a $250 fine, be required to pay court costs and have 3 points placed against their license.
• If an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind, you are required to move as far right as possible to get out of its way and come to a complete stop. If you are unable to move to the right, you are required to come to a complete stop so the vehicle can find a way to move past you. Failure to comply is a Class 2 Misdemeanor with a $250 fine, court costs, and 3 points placed against your license. The only time this does not apply is if the vehicle is coming from the opposite direction and you are on a four-lane divided highway.
• Parking near an emergency vehicle. Parking within 100 feet of an emergency vehicle comes with a $250 fine.
• Following emergency vehicles. It is against the law to follow a fire truck to the scene of a fire. You will be ticketed with a Class 2 Misdemeanor and a $250 fine.
If you cause an injury to an emergency official because you have failed to yield to the emergency vehicle, you will face charges of a First Class Felony and a potential jail term and a large fine.
Emergency vehicles include:
• Police Vehicles
• Private or public ambulances
• Rescue Squads
• Fire engines or fire equipment
• Some utility workers who are working on the side of the road with their emergency lights on
You should always give emergency vehicles the right of way. Not only is it the law to provide these vehicles safe passage, but it is also a public service. These first responders are saving lives. It is important to remember that the person they are saving could someday be you.