Expanded move-over rule pursued in Ohio

November 13, 2023

Keith Goble


A new bill in the Ohio Senate would add the state to the growing list of those that have revised move-over rules to cover all highway users.

At least 20 states now include all road users in their move-over law. Maryland adopted the rule one year ago, joining Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

In 2023, about a dozen more states have adopted move-over rule revisions that apply to all highway users. Ohio is looking to join Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia in implementing a revision this year.

First change in one decade pursued

In 2013, Ohio expanded the types of vehicles covered under the state’s move-over law. Previously, drivers in the state were required to slow down and shift lanes if possible to make room for police, ambulance, fire and road service vehicles when those vehicles are stationary and displaying flashing, oscillating or rotating lights.

The now 10-year-old revision added to the protected list highway maintenance and construction vehicles such as snow plows, road sweepers and mowing machines.

New bill would cover all vehicles

Sen. Steve Wilson, R-Maineville, has introduced a bill that would expand the state’s move-over law to include any stationary vehicle that is in “distress.”

The bill says that “a vehicle is in distress when the operator indicates the condition through lit fuse, flares, red lights, red reflectors, red flags, emergency signs or flashing emergency/hazard lights.”

Failure to change lanes or proceed with caution when approaching a stationary vehicle in distress could result in a misdemeanor offense. Drivers with other traffic violations in the past year would face increased charges.

An additional $100 charge could result if distracted driving is determined to be a factor in a driver’s failure to move over or slow down.

Wilson’s bill, SB178, awaits assignment to committee.

Addressing a problem

During a week-long initiative over the summer, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported there were 690 move-over citations throughout the state.

Troopers added that more than 26,000 citations for the state’s move-over, slow-down law have been issued since 2018.

Advocates, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, have argued current law confuses many drivers about when they need to move over. Wilson said his bill would enhance the law to reduce confusion.

“If any of you have ever been out along an interstate and had to change a tire, it is a scary, scary thing,” Wilson said at a press conference. “Giving people a little space and saving lots of lives is something I think we will all be proud of.” LL

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