ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s Sen. Tom McInnis is one of three state senators behind a bipartisan effort to make sure the public is informed of certain traffic-related laws.
McInnis, along with Sens. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, and Danny Britt, R-Robeson, last month introduced a bill that would require the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, to develop a program to educate the public on the state’s Good Samaritan laws and high-risk driving behaviors including:
- the dangers of texting while driving;
- requirements of the Move Over law; and
- speed limits and other restrictions in school and construction zones.
The program includes outreach and an advertising campaign promoting the aforementioned legislation and incorporating high-risk behaviors into the written, road sign and driving skills tests.
If passed, DMV officials will have to report by Dec. 1 to the chairs of the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee and Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety on the efforts being made to institute the program.
Two of the state’s Good Samaritan laws shield those who stop at the scene of a wreck to administer First Aid from civil liability in the event of injury or death — unless such injuries are the result of intentional wrongdoing.
The Move Over Law, which went into effect in 2002, “requires motorists slow down and approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the shoulder of the roadway with its lights flashing,” according to DPS. “Motorists are required to move over to another lane away from the emergency vehicle on a multi-lane highway or slow down on a two lane highway and can do so safely.”
Statistics from the DMV show the number of distracted-driving crashes increased by 5,000 from 2014 (49,257) to 2016 (54,302) and only decreased by a few hundred by 2017 (54,133). However, the number of non-fatal injuries from distracted-driving crashes has decreased.
An amendment to the bill passed the Senate unanimously on March 27. It passed its first reading in the House on Monday and was sent to the House Rules Committee.