CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – With several recent cases of troopers being hurt on the road, Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to stress the importance of the Move Over Law.
Pulling someone over for a traffic violation on the side of a busy interstate can be dangerous for troopers. Cars are flying by, sometimes at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
The Move Over Law is in effect in all 50 states, but not everyone follows it. It’s in place to protect troopers, but hundreds of them around the country are still hit by drivers breaking the law each year.
Sgt. Philip Robinson has been in law enforcement for almost 20 years and says stepping out of his car is always risky.
“When you get on the interstate or on a divided highway, like State Route 11, just because of the sheer volume of traffic, you will have your fair share of close calls,” he said. “You always have to have your head on a swivel to make sure you’re seeing every car that comes past you, just to make sure you don’t get hit.”
From 2011 to 2015, Highway Patrol cruisers were involved in 67 crashes that appear to be related to drivers not following the Move Over Law. Those crashes led to over 90 injuries and two deaths.
Robinson says northeast Ohio has been one of the worst areas in the state recently for people breaking the law.
Last week, a Highway Patrol trooper in Cleveland died when a driver, who was later charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, hit him on the road.
On September 11 in Howland Township, a trooper was injured after being hit during a traffic stop. In July, a car hit a trooper in Geauga County, throwing him into a ditch.
Saying you didn’t know about the law is not an excuse. Robinson says he’s seen people and families affected by drivers ignoring the Move Over Law, and that sometimes it’s not about what happened, but what could have happened.
“Then, of course, we have other incidents where the worst does happen. At that point, you just have to get that message out there to everyone that they need to move over. They need to slow down anytime they see the lights on the side of the road.”
Robinson says if there is too much traffic in the other lane or there’s no way to get over, drivers still need to slow down way below the speed limit.