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Dangerous drivers continue to put Ohio roadside workers at risk

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 18:13:55-04

We've seen more than a few fatal accidents involving roadside workers here in Northeast Ohio over the past couple years, but not all drivers are taking notice. 

Even with a law in place to protect law enforcement, first responders and more, they still tell News 5 it's happening. 

"You don't know they're there until it's too late," Jay Marek, of Rich's Towing, told News 5. 

"They do continue to increase," said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Rob Gable.

"It's amazing how many people will drive by and it's like you're not even standing there," Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson Amanda McFarland said.

Law enforcement, first responders, construction workers, and tow truck drives all said they deal with it.

"You really don't think someone is gonna just jump out in front of you, but they didn't just jump out in front of you. You drove into them, I've been hit by drunks twice," Marek said. 

The Move Over Law was put in place in 2009 and expanded in 2013 with an aim at putting an end to the dangerous close-calls, accidents, and fatalities. 

It requires all drivers to move over one lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing lights. If moving over isn't possible, drivers are supposed to slow down. 

The cost of a ticket for not moving over varies by city and drivers can face hundreds of dollars in fines and points on their license. But, unfortunately, it keeps happening.

"There have been 162 employees killed doing their jobs at ODOT," Amanda McFarland said. "You've got to remember the men and women working on our roadways every day have families,"  McFarland said. 

This video puts a face on those most at risk: 

Last year, 152 ODOT vehicles were struck, and more recently, someone was killed.

"A gentlemen in the Youngstown area was performing some brush clearing on the interstate and he was struck and killed," McFarland said.

The continued problem begging the question — is it really worth the rush?