CINCINNATI, Oh. (October 28, 2018) – AAA is joining Ohio traffic safety advocates to remind motorists about the dangers of ‘fall-ing’ for risky driving behaviors such as distracted driving and failure to move over as two key laws go into effect tomorrow.
House Bill 95, passed in July, increases the penalty (an additional $100 fine) for distracted driving if a driver commits a moving violation while distracted. Enforcement is a secondary offense, and in lieu of paying the additional fine, offenders may choose to complete a distracted driving safety course established by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
In 2017, there were more than 21,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving in Ohio - but the true number is much higher, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Many people won’t admit to driving distracted when involved in a crash out of fear of liability. It’s also more difficult for officers to prove, which is why it doesn’t often get recorded in crash data.
“While failure to adhere to these critical traffic safety laws can cause loss of money in your wallet, they have far more life-altering consequences for every person traveling on Ohio roads,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman.
In addition, beginning on Monday, Ohio’s Move Over law expands to include waste collection trucks. The changes to the move over law, passed as Senate Bill 127 in June, will protect the lives of sanitation workers, refuge collectors, along with helpers on recycling trucks.
As noted by the American Disposal Services and the American Recycling Center, being struck by a motorist is a leading cause of death for waste and recycling collection employees. Yet 71 percent of Americans have not heard of move over laws, according to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research.
A violation of Ohio’s Move Over Law is a minor misdemeanor. However, a violation is a fourth degree misdemeanor if the offender has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense within one year of the violation. The violation is a third degree misdemeanor if the offender has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses within one year.
“Refuse and recyclable material collection is the fifth most dangerous job in the country, and transportation incidents are the cause of 40 percent of the injuries and fatalities in the industry,” continued Moore. “Now these workers are also protected by Ohio’s Move Over Law. This is critical as they, along with other service truck drivers, face the same dangers as first responders and tow truck operators performing service duties on the side of the road.”
Failure to change lanes if traveling on a roadway with more than two lanes and passing a waste collection truck with will result in a minor misdemeanor moving violation along with a fine up to $300 plus court fees. Subsequent violations would earn the offender a $500 fine and possible jail time.
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.