WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the weather warms up, emergency crews are reminding drivers to slow down or move over for flashing lights.
In Licking County, a Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was helping a disabled vehicle when he was hit from behind on Interstate 70. The trooper and a woman sitting in his cruiser were injured as a result.
Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Holt said it’s important that people use caution around emergency vehicles.
“No matter what color the lights are, no matter who it is working or doing something on the side of the road, you have to move over or at minimum, slow down if they can’t move over,” he said.
Ohio’s Move Over Law took effect in 2004 to reduce risk to law-enforcement officers, emergency responders and tow operators. It was expanded in December 2013 to apply to every stationary vehicle with flashing lights, including road construction, maintenance and utility crews.
Holt said the law is in place to protect people from close calls.
Holt would know. Seven years ago, he was hit on the side of I-76 in Portage County.
“I personally was struck while I was investigating a traffic crash on an interstate where a car had not seen traffic was slowed down ahead of them and struck my patrol car from the rear,” he said.
Just a year and a half ago, Canfield Firefighter Troy Kolar and his partner were getting ready to get out of the truck and help with an accident on the Ohio Turnpike when they were hit by a truck hauling cars, causing a chain reaction. A 27-year-old woman was killed in the crash.
That’s why he and his wife started a non-profit organization called First Responders First.
“You always wonder why the lights are so bright anymore, the LED lighting that how can you not see these emergency vehicles?” Kolar said.