Amid ice, snow, and some of the coldest winter temperatures in years, there is a new Ohio driving law for drivers to think about this winter. As of January 1st 2014, some changes have been made to Ohio’s existing “Move Over” law.
The “Move Over” driving law previously 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.
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.
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.
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.