CLEVELAND – A new tool is coming to Northeast Ohio roads that may help enforce Ohio’s “Move Over” law.
Ohio law requires drivers to move to an adjacent lane or slow down for police cars, emergency vehicles, tow trucks and public utility vehicles that are stopped with their lights activated.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Rob Gable said troopers see violations every day.
“People are still not moving over, some people are still not slowing down,” Gable said. “It's dangerous because personnel are being struck.”
OSHP reports that between 2013 and 2017, 58 of its patrol cars were hit while stopped with lights activated, resulting in two deaths and 58 injuries.
In June, Mentor police patrolman Matthew Mazany was killed after being hit while stopped on State Route 2.
The problem has prompted Maryland-based Brekford Traffic Safety, Inc. to develop “move over” cameras for vehicles. The cameras provide a 180-degree view of violations, recording speed and passing distance.
“We combine our tracking radar system which actually measures the precise distance the car passes by the cruiser as well as the speed because that's an element of the law,” said Brekford Traffic Safety President and Chief Operating Officer Rod Hillman. “The idea is, how do you make motorists aware to ultimately decrease the violations?”
Rich’s Towing in Oakwood Village said it is planning to add the cameras to some of its tow trucks next month to provide data showing the extent of the problem.
The South Bloomfield Police Department, south of Columbus, is beginning a pilot program with cameras on two of its cruisers and a tow truck this week, Hillman said.
“The purpose of this and the other studies is to gather that information and confirm what others believe on an anecdotal basis and try to put some statistics to it,” Hillman said. “If agencies want to incorporate the technology, then there's a basis to do that.”
The system could eventually be used by law enforcement to warn drivers, provide evidence of violations or even to cite violators by mail.
OSHP data indicates troopers issued 14,202 citations for violations of the state’s move over law between 2013 and 2017, with a 17 percent increase in citations written from 2016 to 2017.
“We are certainly very interested in anything that's going to bring attention to the problem,” Lt. Gable said.
Hillman said Brekford anticipates beginning commercial production of its camera systems by the end of the year and pricing information has not yet been finalized.