Quick law heads to Gov. Cooper

By: T.C. Hunter - Managing editor
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LUMBERTON — A bill sponsored by a local lawmaker that increases the criminal penalty for motorists who violate North Carolina’s “move-over” law and that leads to a first responder’s death or serious injury is headed to the governor.

The General Assembly gave final approval Wednesday to Sen. Danny Britt Jr.’s bill called the “Officer Jason Quick Act.” The bill goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office with resounding approval by both legislative chambers. The House approved it on Monday by a vote of 117 to 1. The Senate agreed on Wednesday to House changes to the bill and approved it by a 46-0 vote. The change was an amendment that made a minor technical language that applied to tow trucks.

“I am extremely pleased this legislation is passed,” Britt said. “Since the filing of this legislation we have had one firefighter and one sheriff’s deputy struck while working along the roadside. This is necessary legislation to help protect those who protect us, fire, EMS and law enforcement.”

North Carolina law requires motorists to change lanes or otherwise slow down when they approach police cruisers with flashing emergency lights. Under the current law violators face a Class 1 misdemeanor and a possible fine.

Britt’s bill calls for anyone convicted of not slowing down and changing lanes to move away from an accident who then causes an accident and more than $500 worth of property damage or injury to an emergency responder or law enforcement officer to face a Class I felony. That could mean three months to a year in jail.

The penalty for a driver who violated the law and caused the death of an emergency responder or law enforcement officer would be a Class F felony, with the possibility of 10 to 41 months in jail.

The final bill also makes it unlawful for vehicles to use flashing or amber strobe lights, with exceptions.

“These jobs are dangerous enough as it is, and we have to do our part to make it safe for them,” Britt said in the days before he introduced the legislation.

The “Officer Jason Quick Act” is named in honor of Lumberton police Officer Jason Quick, who was 31 years old when he died on Dec. 15 after being struck by a vehicle while working an accident at Exit 22 on Interstate 95. He is survived by a wife and two children.

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T.C. Hunter

Managing editor

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]