Tougher penalty for some 'move-over' violations finalized

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The General Assembly is increasing the criminal penalty for motorists who violate North Carolina's "move-over" law and a first responder dies or is seriously injured.

The Senate agreed on Wednesday to House changes to the bill, which responds to the December death of a Lumberton officer which occurred when authorities say a passing car struck him during an investigation.

The move-over law requires motorists to change lanes or otherwise slow down when they approach police cruisers with flashing emergency lights. The bill heading to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk would create a more severe felony when serious injury or death occurs, with possible prison time for someone with an otherwise clean record.

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