CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new bill introduced in North Carolina on Wednesday would strengthen penalties for drivers who don’t move over for emergency and service vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
The bill is named for Officer Jason Quick, a Lumberton police officer hit and killed just under two months ago while responding to a crash on I-95. It would increase the level of punishment for those who violate the ‘Move Over’ law.
The ‘Move Over’ law states that if there’s an emergency vehicle pulled off in the shoulder, passing drivers need to slow down, and move into the next lane when possible.
On December 15, Officer Jason Quick was investigating a car crash on I-95 when he was hit and killed by a passing car.
“Oh my God I can’t even begin to tell what kind of husband I had,” Leah Quick, Officer Quick’s widow, said. “He had a toothbrush just to clean his badge, and he cleaned his whistle and he cleaned his shoes. He would sit in there and clean his stuff because he enjoyed it so much.”
After her husband’s death, Leah Quick began calling lawmakers to advocate for stronger penalties for people who don't move over or slow down when they should.
Republican Senator Danny Britt heard her -- and on Wednesday, introduced the “Officer Jason Quick Act.”
Currently, if you don’t move over and end up hurting an emergency responder, it’s just a misdemeanor.
The new bill would increase that penalty to a Class 1 felony, with three to 12 months in prison.
If you seriously injure or kill someone, the bill would increase the penalty from a Class 1 felony to a much stricter Class F felony, with 10 to 41 months in prison.
The law applies to any vehicles with flashing lights -- including utility and tow trucks.
Lawmakers hope this new bill, under Officer Quick’s name, will crack down on this deadly problem.