The Columbus Dispatch today has an article discussing Ohio’s revised “move over” law.
The new law is found is R.C. 4511.213, which says that a driver, upon approaching a stationary public safety vehicle, an emergency vehicle, tow truck, construction, maintenance or public utilities vehicle must either:
(1) If there are at least two lanes going in the same direction, change lanes to the lane furthest from the emergency vehicle (if possible with regard to weather, etc.), or
(2) If on a two lane highway where it is impossible to change lanes or changing lanes would be unsafe, the driver must “proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle, and maintain a safe speed for the road, weather, and traffic conditions.”
The law has been in place since 2004, but the old version required drivers to move over only for emergency vehicles, public safety vehicles or tow trucks. The new version expands the law to include construction, maintenance and public utilities vehicles.
Violation of the “move over” law is a minor misdemeanor for a first offense. However, if you have a prior speeding ticket or other traffic violation within the prior year, the offense is considered a more serious fourth degree misdemeanor, which carries up to 30 days in jail. Similarly, if you have two prior speeding tickets or other traffic violations within the previous year, the offense is an even more serious third degree misdemeanor, carrying up to 60 days in jail.
The law also provides that if you are found guilty of failure to move over, fines are doubled. In other words, for a first offense where the usual max for a minor misdemeanor is $150, the fine would be $300. For a second offense, where the usual max for a fourth degree misdemeanor is $250, the fine would be $500. For a third offense, where the usual max for a third degree misdemeanor is $500, the doubled fine would be $1000.
The Dispatch notes that violators will receive warnings instead of citations over the next three months. After that, officers will begin writing tickets.