New tech aims to ticket drivers who don't move over or slow down for emergency vehicles

CLEVELAND - New tech aims to ticket drivers who don't move over and slow down for roadside workers with flashing emergency lights. 

"We have to keep coming back to the same message, but we aren't going to stop talking about it until people stop hitting our folks," Matt Bruning from the Ohio Department of Transportation said.

Drivers are supposed to move over one lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing lights; if they can't, then they are supposed to slow down. 

"People are simply not paying attention when they come up on our crews, and that's something that can be fixed," Bruning added. 

RELATED: Ohio Highway Patrol aggressively enforcing 'Move Over' law

Around 586 people were ticketed in a recent highway patrol enforcement action, and still, four ODOT crews have been hit in just the past two weeks by drivers breaking the law. 

Enforcement issues are part of the problem, we've reported on extensively, because police and deputies can't be everywhere at once, near every roadside crew, tracking every dangerous driver. 

But a camera can.

News 5 learned the company Brekford is now using tech as a possible solution. 

"It's a complex tracking radar that can identify the speeds and the precise distances. The radar knows whether you're in the adjacent lane or you've been able to move over," Brekford's president Rod Hillman said.

The small camera mounts on a vehicle providing a 180-degree angle view — combining the camera, with speed and distance tracking as well as proof the emergency lights were flashing. It makes evidence gathering, along with warning or citations possible. 

"It could be used as future evidence if someone is pulled over. Or in cases where there's ability for automated enforcement, to mail citations," Hillman explained. 

One of the company's first test markets is in South Bloomfield, just south of Columbus. According to Brekford, The South Bloomfield police department reached out to them. 

In a recent test, 29 violations were captured in about 14 minutes — about the average time for a police and tow truck stop.

So, what's next? 

"Our current phase is soliciting agencies for these tests and that will be going on for the next couple of months. And very soon, we will be able to provide full-scale units for enforcement operations," Hillman said.

News 5 reached out to a few local agencies to see if they've expressed interest in the tech, we've heard back from a few. 

An Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesperson responded; "Our in-car cameras already pick up footage and we do not use photo enforcement."

Mentor's Police Chief, Kevin Knight, whose department recently talked to News 5 when Officer Mathew Mazany was struck and killed working on the side of the road. 

"Several years ago when the idea of photo enforcement was researched here it was decided that the city would not get involved in photo enforcement. I make it a policy of my office not to offer comment or opinions on any commercial product," Knight said.

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