A state lawmaker wants to expand the Move Over, Slow Down Law in Ohio.
State Senator Stephen Wilson, (R-7) hopes SB 178 could save lives.
“The main thing we’ve got to do is what you’re doing today, and that makes the public aware of this danger, the public aware of this need to follow slow down, move over laws, because it will save lives,” Wilson said.
Wilson wants disabled vehicles to be included in the legislation, expanding the requirement beyond emergency vehicles, maintenance crews, and tow trucks.
A 2021 AAA poll found that 66% of Ohio drivers know about the current law in Ohio that requires them to change lanes or slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with flashing lights.
The Move Over, Slow Down Law went into effect in 1999 and has since been expanded in 2013. It now requires drivers to move over and slow down when police, fire, road construction and maintenance crews, and tow trucks are stopped with their lights flashing.
Wilson’s proposed expansion would include disabled or distressed cars with any indication of a hazard, not unattended stopped vehicles.
“Since 2018, there have been 61 Highway Patrol, patrol cars that have been struck for move-over-related offenses. And these crashes resulted in the death of two civilians and injured 56 officers and civilians,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Lebanon Post Commander Lieutenant Matt Schmenk said.
Wilson wants to change the law so that any driver will move over or slow down when they see any disabled car on the side of the road with flashing lights or emergency lights on.
“If any of you have ever been out along an interstate and had to change a tire or had to be out there, it is a scary, scary thing. And giving people a little space, and saving lots of lives, lots of lives, is something that I think we’ll all be proud of,” Wilson said.
19 states have expanded versions of the Move Over Law, according to AAA.
“So, we are trying to catch up with everyone else. We want to add it to Ohio to protect drivers,” AAA Public and Government Affairs Manager Kara Hitchens said.
The bill will now have to through committees, but Wilson is confident it will get support from the rest of the legislature.