Ohio, New York take steps to increase safety along roadsides

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/13/2013

New safety rules in Ohio and New York cover buffer zones for emergency personnel along roadsides.

In New York, a new rule revises the state’s “Move Over” law to include more emergency personnel.

Since Jan. 1, 2011, New York requires drivers traveling on multilane roadways to move away from the lane closest to any emergency vehicle on the side of the road with red and/or while flashing lights. Drivers are also required to slow down.

Previously S2318, the new law expands the coverage to include all flashing emergency lights. In particular, the rule now in effect applies to red, blue, white and/or amber lights.

In nearby Ohio, the General Assembly approved a bill to expand the types of vehicles covered under the state’s existing rule. Drivers in the state already are required to make room for police, ambulance, fire and road service vehicles.

HB172 includes highway maintenance and construction vehicles in the protected list, such as snowplows, road sweepers and mowing machines.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray stated that “the expanded Move Over law is a critical step to improving safety of our workers.”

Since 2008, the state reports more than 600 collisions have occurred between the traveling public and ODOT vehicles and equipment.

The rule change awaits Gov. John Kasich’s signature. If approved, it would take effect immediately. Law enforcement would have to wait 90 days before issuing tickets for violations.

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