CLEVELAND - Move over or slow down. It's the law and it's an issue we've been investigating for months. Now a new technology could help law enforcement enforce the law when drivers don't slow down or move over when there is a disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
"Every time we do our jobs we're pulling over on the side of the road, we've got people blowing by us, we can't get anyone to slow down or move over," Jay Marek, with Rich's Towing, said.
"We've all lost people because of a vehicle traveling off the road and striking someone just doing their job," said Highway Patrol Lt. Rob Gable.
Per the Move Over Law, drivers are supposed to move over one lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing lights. If they can't, they're supposed to slow down.
And even after enforcement actions and several fatal accidents and injuries involving roadside workers in Northeast Ohio, not all drivers are taking notice.
Roadside workers, law enforcement and a tech company have a possible solution, all brought together in Ohio Tuesday for a meeting on safety.
In our recent coverage, we introduced a company, Brekford, that's working on tech that closes the gap when it comes to issues enforcing the law- a camera system that mounts into or onto any roadside vehicle to detect offenders.
That story landed them in Northeast Ohio Tuesday, after a few calls by Jay Marek, with Rich's Towing, who has been involved in our coverage of the issue and followed up.
"To find out this kind of technology existed? I was ecstatic, I couldn't call you fast enough," Marek said to News 5.
News 5 helped connect Rich's Towing and Brekford President and COO, Rod Hillman.
"When Jay called us, as a result of that? We were like of course, we'd be glad to come out," Hillman told News 5.
Brekford presented their tech and ideas at a meeting that brings roadside workers together.
Here's how it works— their small camera mounts on a vehicle providing a 180-degree angle view. The system combines the camera with speed and distance tracking radar, as well as proof the emergency lights were flashing.
"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," Hillman explained.
The camera's system pulls out violations specifically, not just hours of video, making evidence gathering, or issuing of a warning/citation possible.
Hillman said he recognizes that using camera technology for citations is a controversial issue in Ohio and across the country. He explained their system can be used to issue warnings, proven to help create awareness of not only the law but the problem.
"Our goal right now is to test them and provide data," Hillman said.
"The Highway Patrol is not looking at employing any devices like these, but we are interested in the public being more aware of the possibility of something like this," Lt. Rob Gable said.
Ohio Highway Patrol ticketed more than 600 drivers, breaking the Move Over law, in an enforcement action they participated in this past summer.
One of Brekford's first tester markets? South Bloomfield, Ohio whose police department reached out to them.
Police and a tow truck operator ran a 14-minute test on a stop, the average time they take. And in those 14 minutes, the camera captured 29 violations.
According to Hillman and Marek, the Cleveland area will be their next Ohio test market, with plans to put the technology on one of the tow trucks this October.
They'll gather local data and information then, but they will not issue warnings or citations.
"We want to go home at the end of the day and if you're not going to be compliant, this will make you complain over time. We just want to get the information out there to get people to slow down and move over," Jay Marek said.