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It’s very simple — Just move over

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to keep everyone safe by moving over when there is a stationary public safety vehicle, emergency vehicle, road service or highway maintenance vehicle on the side of the road.

From 2016-20, patrol cruisers were involved in 56 crashes that were move-over related, resulting in one death and 52 injuries. While alcohol or drugs were a factor in 25 percent of these crashes and 52 percent involved wet, snow-covered or icy roads, that still leaves 23 percent in which drivers were simply not paying attention.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 634 law enforcement officers were killed in accidents between 2007-2017. In 2018, there were five fatalities involving vehicles in emergency use in Ohio and three in Pennsylvania, NHTSA added.

While the exact details vary, it is important to remember that all 50 states have laws which require drivers to move over when there is a stationary vehicle on the side of the highway.

If not possible due to traffic, weather conditions or because there is no second lane, drivers must slow down. Every licensed driver had to pass a test that includes this information. It isn’t a lack of knowledge; it is distraction and apathy leading to these incidents.

In the years studied in Ohio, males received 59 percent of citations, and 35 percent of the incidents took place between June and August. That means we are in the prime time for some very preventable incidents.

Work zones, too, should prompt motorists to slow down and maybe even move over.

From 2016-20, officials documented 360 violations in Southeast Ohio.

Surely local drivers care more for the safety of officers, road workers and fellow drivers than that. We all must be more courteous and less distracted while driving, never forgetting we have our own safety, our families and the safety of others on the road in our hands.

We know better. We just need to do better.

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