In Ohio, there is the Ohio Move Over law which requires motorists to move over to one lane, or to slow down, when they see any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road. The hope is that this law will help protect those in vehicles that have broken down as well as those in emergency vehicles.
The move over law requires drivers to slow down and move over for all stationary vehicles with flashing lights. This includes not only emergency vehicles but also tow trucks, utility crews and maintenance vehicles, for example.
What happens if someone can’t move over?
When a driver can’t move over, the requirement is that they must slow down and proceed with caution. For example, if you see a police officer pull someone over up ahead of you, you should attempt to move over at least one lane of travel. If you cannot, then you need to slow down and approach cautiously, so that you don’t accidentally hit the cruiser or other vehicle. You should be prepared to stop if the situation requires you to.
Why did Ohio put a move over law into place?
Ohio now has a move over law because there were 5,226 collisions related to failing to move over or slow down for these vehicles between 2015 and 2020. In those cases, 42% of those involved in crashes were law enforcement officers. Another 40% of the crashes were made up of construction workers, utility workers and maintenance workers. In 10% of cases, fire and ambulance vehicles were involved in move over crashes.
Just moving over and slowing down can significantly help reduce the number of auto collisions on the roads around the state. Failing to move over is a violation and may lead to a misdemeanor charge and fines. Additional fines also apply in the case that the driver has more than one violation within the year or was distracted at the time of the crash.
The move over law in Ohio is there to protect anyone with hazard lights or emergency lights on. If someone fails to move over, then they can be held accountable for any injuries or damage they cause.