CLEVELAND - Technology is revealing how often drivers break Ohio law by failing to move over or slow down for official vehicles stopped on the roadside.
A field test of enforcement cameras on tow trucks and police cruisers was conducted in Northeast Ohio between September and November to capture violations of the state's -'Move Over Law.'
The law requires drivers to change lanes by moving over or, if that's not possible, slowing down for first responders and other official vehicles with flashing lights stopped on a road, including tow trucks and construction vehicles.
"There's always that constant threat of not just worrying who's in the car and what you're doing on the traffic stop, why you're there, but that threat behind you," said Macedonia Police Patrolman Scott Ferrell, who participated in the trial.
"As a single unit responding sometimes, or a single car on a traffic stop, it's hard to pull out and actually enforce whatever violation you see, such as the Ohio Move Over law."
During the field test, Macedonia Police cruisers and tow trucks from Rich's Towing in Oakwood Village were equipped with Argos Guardian cameras from Brekford Traffic Safety, Inc. The cameras record video of violations and measure speed and passing distance.
The company said the trial found 545 violations over 14 hours of enforcement time or an average of .7 violations per minute. Tow trucks recorded 1.4 violations per minute while law enforcement vehicles recorded .5 per minute.
"We see it every day. With this camera system, it actually picked it up, recorded it," said Jay Marek, with Rich's Towing. "This tool will save people's lives once people are aware it's there and be more attentive to their driving."
Brekford President and COO Rod Hillman said the cameras can be used to issue warnings or tickets through automated enforcement, helping to keep roadside workers safe.
"If the devices are out there if there is an enforcement mechanism, ultimately that behavior changes, sometimes by as much as an 80 to 90 percent reduction," Hillman said.
Hillman said the system performed well during the local field test, but the company is making some tweaks and planning additional testing in the Cleveland area and in other states.
"What we've tried to do is come up with a device that's easy to install, easy to utilize that actually records these infractions," he said.
Hillman said the cameras should be ready for enforcement use starting in 2019.