DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Proposed changes to Ohio’s “move over, slow down” law may soon include distressed vehicles.

State Sen. Stephen Wilson (R-7th District) introduced SB 178 on Oct. 19, which aims to expand the current laws to include motorists experiencing mechanical issues. The bill is co-sponsored by William P. DeMora, Bob D. Hackett, and Michael A. Rulli.

Distressed vehicles are described in the bill as stopped vehicles with flashing lights, flares, or other indications of a hazard. The bill does not speak to unattended stopped vehicles.

Move-over laws exist in all 50 states, but only 19 of them require motorists to accommodate disabled vehicles.

Ohio’s current move over law states that motorists must:

  • Stop when coming from any direction and approaching any moving authorized emergency vehicle using red visual signals and/or lights.
  • Move over and slow down when passing any vehicle displaying amber or yellow flashing signals and/or lights.

“What seems like a common courtesy for drivers to give space to those along the road, sadly there is a lack of understanding of who that applies to,” said the senator in a press release.

If passed, SB 178 will prohibit motorists from failing to change lanes or proceed with caution around a stationary vehicle in distress.

The bill outlines misdemeanor charges for those who violate the law. Motorists who have been convicted or plead guilty to predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense will received increased charges in the third and fourth degrees.

Additional fines are also outlined in the bill when distracted driving is a contributing factor.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 57 fatalities on Ohio roadways since 2017 involving people outside of disabled vehicles.

“Making it a practice to move over for everyone at the side of the road, can increase compliance and in turn makes the roads safer,” the Senator stated in the press release.