SAFETY: ODOT seeks more protection for maintenance workers

Agency wants vehicles to move a lane over if work is being done on shoulder

Safety News Columbus Dispatch June 13, 2013
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When you see flashing lights on the side of the road, you should move over. It should not matter what color they are.


The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is trying to expand this practice, and the state legislature is following suit. ODOT wants motorist to move a lane over when they see highway maintenance vehicles and workers doing their job on the shoulder of the road, much like when emergency vehicles are pulled over.


Legislation is currently moving through that would give the protection to snow plows, lane stripers and other maintenance workers.


“Whatever we can do to reduce injuries in traffic, we ought to do,” ODOT Director Jerry Wray told the House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.


According to Wray, ODOT workers, signs and equipment were hit 43 times through May 2013. The bill would require motorists to move out of the adjacent lane as long as the maintenance vehicle’s rotating lights are flashing. If drivers could not move over safely, they would be required to slow down.


Some members of the House committee said the bill might need to be strengthened by including language that addresses any vehicle stopped on the side of the road, even if they are just changing a tire.


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