The new year is hear and with it comes a new Ohio driving law. New changes have been made to the Move Over law.
The new year always brings a list of new things we have to think about. But with 2014 starting off with a polar vortex bringing us ice, snow, and some of the coldest winter temperatures in years, Ohio drivers probably aren’t aware of a new Ohio driving law. As of January 1st 2014, some changes have been made to Ohio’s existing “Move Over” law.
Previously, the Ohio driving law required drivers to slow down or change lanes when a police office or police vehicle was stopped along the side of the road. The new changes have expanded the existing law to include maintenance and construction workers. The expansion was passed in early December 2013 as part of Ohio Senate Bill 137.
The penalty for failure to slow down or change lanes when a road worker or police vehicle is on the side of the road is a minor misdemeanor. For a first offence, the driver could receive a fine of $150 or community service.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the law was expanded to improve the safety of maintenance workers on Ohio roads. The law was inspired by a fatal accident involving an elderly construction worker in Avon, Ohio in 2012. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation have stated that expanding the laws are an important step in keeping construction and road maintenance workers safe. (January 2014, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2901.02) (January 2014, http://fox8.com/2012/09/13/i-team-examines-speed-limit-in-workers-death/)
Ohio Work Zone Injury and Crash Statistics
According to the United States Department of Transportation, there are about 20,000 road construction workers injured on the job each year. 59 percent of all work zone fatalities occurred in zones with a speed limit higher than 55 miles per hour.
According to the 2010 Ohio Crash Statistics Report, there were 5,069 road accidents occurring in or around work zones. 10 of those accidents resulted in fatalities, and 1,270 resulted in injuries. The Ohio Department of Transportation hopes to reduce the number of accidents seen in Ohio construction zones reduced with the expansion of the Move Over law. (January 2014, http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/resources/facts_stats/injuries_fatalities.htm) (January 2011, http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/2010CrashFacts.pdf).
New Ohio Driving Law
The Move Over Law was designed to help drivers become more aware of construction and maintenance workers when behind the wheel. Drivers should take the following steps when driving near construction or maintenance vehicles or personnel:
• Change lanes to get as far away from the construction zone as possible.
• If it is not possible to change lanes, slow to 20 miles an hour below the posted speed limit (or under 55 miles per hour).
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the expanded law will make roads safer for workers and prevent needless roadway accidents. Lawmakers hope this will provide extra room for construction and maintenance workers to do their job with a reduced risk for injuries. (January 2014, http://fox8.com/2013/12/30/drivers-beware-changes-to-ohios-move-over-law/)