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ODOT's Slow Down, Move Over Event Reinforces Ohio Law

Tue June 26, 2018 - Midwest Edition #13

Ohio’s Move Over Law requires motorists to cautiously shift over one lane — or slow down if changing lanes is not possible — when passing any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of a road.
(ODOT photo)
Ohio’s Move Over Law requires motorists to cautiously shift over one lane — or slow down if changing lanes is not possible — when passing any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of a road. (ODOT photo)

On June 14, ODOT hosted a “Slow Down and Move Over” event to honor the lives of construction workers that have been lost and to remind Ohio residents of the state's Move Over Law. This event comes on the heels of ODOT's announcement that it is preparing for a busy construction season with a particular awareness of the dangers roadside work can pose to workers. In that release, ODOT stated that its crews were struck a total of 152 times in 2017. The event aimed to spread awareness about these safety issues. To emphasize this point, 19 cones were stationed at the event, representing the 19 lives lost in construction zones in the past year.

What Is the Move Over Law?

Ohio's Move Over Law is designed to protect the lives of everyone who works on or uses its roadways. The law requires all drivers to move over one lane passing by any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside.

The original law took effect in 1999 to reduce risk to law-enforcement officers and emergency responders. It was expanded in December 2013 to apply to every stationary vehicle with flashing lights, including road construction, maintenance and utility crews.

What If Drivers Can't Move Over?

The law recognizes that sometimes it is not safe or possible to move over because of traffic or weather conditions or because a second lane does not exist. In those situations, the law requires motorists to slow down, proceed with caution, watch for people or objects that could enter their travel lane and be prepared to stop.

How Does the Move Over Law Differ From Yielding the Right of Way to Emergency Vehicles?

Yielding the right of way to an emergency responder requires the driver to pull to the right-hand side of the road and stop when a law-enforcement officer, fire truck, ambulance or other emergency vehicle approaches using a siren, lights or other warning devices. Drivers must wait until the emergency responder(s) has passed by before they can resume driving.

How Serious Is the Problem?

Across the nation, hundreds of people are killed or injured every year when they're struck by a vehicle after pulling over to the side of the road or highway. On average, these “struck-by” crashes kill one tow-truck driver every six days; 23 highway workers and one law-enforcement officer every month; and five firefighters every year. Tragically, stranded motorists also are struck and killed.

Can Drivers Be Cited for Failing to Comply With the Move Over Law?

Yes, and the issue is so serious that fines are doubled. Violators are fined 2 x $150 for the first violation (a minor misdemeanor), 2 x $250 for the same violation within a year of the first, and 2 x $500 for more than two violations in a year.

What Types of Roadways Does the Law Apply to?

Ohio's Move Over Law applies to all interstates and state highways. It can be enforced by any law-enforcement officer, including state highway patrol officers, local police and county sheriff's deputies.

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