Ohio drivers not following move over law, tickets have quadrupled since it took effect in 2011

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 07, 2016

It's just been three weeks since State Highway Patrol Trooper Kenny Velez was struck and killed by a driver while he was standing on the side of the highway. Sadly, he’s not the first.

It's the law here in Ohio, but how many actually follow it? New numbers show the amount of people not following Ohio's ‘Move Over’ law is on the rise.

Cars zipping by, not pay attention, is what Michael Mackrell, General Manager, Patton's Towing, has had to get used to.

“You want to get there, get loaded, and get out of there quickly," he said.

A tow truck driver for nearly 15 years, he's seen firsthand how dangerous it can be when his colleague was struck on the job a month ago.

“It was terrible, terrible, you never want to see that friend, family member, coworker ... You don't want to see something like that,” Mackrell said.

While waiting for assistance, a box truck sideswiped Mackrell's worker, leaving him with severe injuries.

“I don't know honestly how he survived, I don't know. If it was me, I probably would've been killed," Mackrell said.

That happened just a week before Trooper Velez was hit and killed.

“It's certainly been difficult," said Sergeant Rob Gable of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Gable worked with Trooper Velez for years.

Just last year, Michael Kennedy, a tow truck driver from Ravenna, was also hit and killed while on the job.

"I did not realize at first, how dangerous of a profession this really is," Mackrell said.

The law is simple, if you see emergency vehicles with lights on the side of the road-get over-or at least, slow down.

“It's easy to take for granted the dangers and responsibilities that come along with operating a vehicle on the highway," Gable said.

To get a better sense of what it's actually like out there, I went on a ride along with Mackrell.

In the fifteen minutes we were out picking up a car, I counted only five cars out of more than 100 actually moved over.

“Some people just don't move over, but traffics already slow, or people do slow down but they don't move over, but there's far too many people that don't do either," said Gable.

Since the law was implemented in 2011, the amount of tickets given out has almost quadrupled. This year, the Ohio state highway patrol says 84 tickets have already been given.

“Things happen alongside the roadways when we're at these incidents and sometimes they're unpredictable," Gable said.

The reality that his colleague, who's in a lawsuit battle right now over the accident, may never do his job again.

“Emotionally on all of us it's been rough. Now my guys get out on the highway and they're thinking about it," Mackrell said.

The law does not give specifics about how much you should slow down, if you can't move over, but officers tell me a good rule of thumb to gauge your situation, and do whatever you need to do to make the scene safe.