State troopers, first responders and utility workers sometimes have to step out on the highways to do their job.
But North Carolina’s move-over-law aims to protect the and keep you safe.
Next week, as part of move over law month, you’ll see billboards as part of an awareness campaign pop up on I-77 near Cornelius and the I-85/485 interchange to move over a lane if you see an emergency vehicle.
“I honestly thought I was going to die that day,” said paramedic, Tim Hayes.
What was supposed to be a routine traffic stop, turned to be anything but routine.
“It was Thursday afternoon around 2:30, my partner and i responded to a minor accident,” said Hayes.
While responding to a minor accident, paramedic Tim Hayes became part of a major accident - this was the scene on I-77 near Davidson.
“While working an accident back in January of 2003, I was struck by an 18 wheeler which left me without any legs,” said Hayes.
“It was the toughest day of my career. It was tough because we didn’t if Tim was going to live through it,” said Medic Relief Operations Supervisor, John Stroup.
“It took me 64 feet down the guardrail. The truck jackknifed and then the bed whipped me and that’s when my body and legs separated from each other,” said Hayes.
Paramedics say Tim’s accident could have been prevented had the driver moved over a lane or slowed down.
“There are not many people that can say they were hit by an 18-wheeler and lived to see tomorrow.”
The truck driver only faced a $25 dollar fine and was charged for failing to reduce his speed - but now move over violators face stiffer penalties.
“When you see flashing blue lights, you may stop to see what the buzz is about. But it’s actually against the law. Back in 2002, the move over law went into effect here in North Carolina. Just last year alone, the highway patrol says nearly 1500 drivers violated that law so if you see flashing blue or red lights on the roads, move over to the next lane and if it’s a 2 lane road slow down, so that these first responders can do their job.”
“It changed my life forever. The one thing i had to do was learn to walk again,” said Hayes. “The doctors gave me a 10 percent chance of walking and I proved them wrong. At the end of the day, we want to go home to our families and that’s why this law is important. This is a dangerous job. Why give more danger to it.”
Drivers must give a distance of at least 1,000 feet and the fines start from $250 dollars.