Ohio, New York adopt rules to improve roadside safety

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/3/2014

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

Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law to expand the types of vehicles covered under the state’s existing “Move Over” law. Drivers in the state already are required to slow down and shift lanes if possible to make room for police, ambulance, fire and road service vehicles.

Previously SB137, the new law includes highway maintenance and construction vehicles in the protected list, such as snow plows, road sweepers and mowing machines.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray stated: “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 took effect immediately. Law enforcement can only issue warnings for violations until April. At that time, offenders would face minor misdemeanors.

In nearby New York, a new rule revises the state’s existing 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.

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