Explaining "move over" law after DOT worker killed - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

After Nicholas Johnson's death, "move over" law explained

Explaining "move over" law after DOT worker killed

Nicholas Johnson was killed in his office.  He worked along the sides South Carolina roads.

The 21-year-old DOT worker was picking up litter along Interstate 20 Monday when a driver swerved onto the shoulder and killed him.

In 2009 the departments of Transportation and Public Safety teamed up to remind drivers about South Carolina's Move Over Law. At the time, surveys showed 70% of drivers had no idea what it was.

"I don't know if people don't know about it, or if it is ignored," said Trooper Brent Kelly.  

Kelly sees it all the time: drivers buzzing right by his fellow patrolmen as they work.

In South Carolina, drivers are required to move into the far lane whenever they approach a stopped emergency vehicle or a work site. That includes DOT work.

"It applies to them as well as it does law enforcement," said Kelly. "Whether they are blue lights red lights or yellow lights, you're required by law to move over."

And if traffic is too thick to move over, slow down.

Wednesday we saw a DOT worker picking up litter just feet away from drivers, who, for whatever reason, didn't move over.

"Pay attention when you're driving through these work zones, don't be distracted, don't talk on your cell phone," said Kelly. "Look out for the people who're standing on the side of the road. This is their job. This is their office, working on the side of our roads."

While obeying the law will help keep the workers and yourself safe, there's also a financial consideration. If you're caught breaking the move over law, it could cost you anywhere from $300-$500.

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