Motorists who encounter any vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights should move over at least one lane or slow down if unable to change lanes.
"You should move over for anybody on the side of the road with flashing lights," said Trooper Brian Neff of the State Highway Patrol’s Cambridge post. "If you see any vehicle with flashing light, use common sense and move over. People are trying to do their jobs and this (law) tries to save lives."
From 2014 to 2018, Ohio motorists who failed to move over struck 56 highway patrol cruisers stopped along the roadside resulting in the deaths of two civilian motorists. The collisions also accounted for 51 injuries including 21 patrol troopers and 29 motorists.
"Every person who works on a road or along the road deserves to go home every night," said Neff. "People need to pay attention."
Some examples of "flashing lights" include law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks, Ohio Department of Transportation vehicles and disabled vehicles.
One of the major factors in people not moving over for each other is distracted driving — another killer on Ohio’s roadways.
From 2015 to 2019, there were 68,101 distracted driving-related crashes on Ohio roads with the majority occurred from Monday to Friday.
"And, that’s just the ones we know about and can prove," said Neff. "You travel a lot further in just a second than you think, and that’s dangerous especially when people are driving distracted."
Neff says the majority of distractions are inside the vehicle.
Visual distractions take your eyes off the roadway. Manual distractions take your hands off the steering wheel. And, cognitive distractions take your mind off driving.
Cell phone use is a major distraction for drivers with both calls and texts.
"Texting is all three," said Neff.
The University of Utah determined cellphone users are 5.36 times more likely to be involved in an accident than an undistracted driver. And, text messaging increases the risk of an accident or near-crash by 23 times, according to the Virginia Technical Transportation Institute.
Reading a text message can take your eyes off the road for five seconds — long enough to cover a football field at 55 mph.
Studies show teens whose parents drive distracted are two to four times more likely to also drive distracted.
"Anything that is not 100 percent driving is distracted driving," said Neff. "And, you are driving something that can end your life or the lives of others."
Another form of distracted driving is driving impaired.
"Designate a driver or call a Uber or a taxi," said Neff. Planning ahead can save lives.
Motorists who witness impaired or reckless drivers can contact the local patrol post by calling #677 or 911.