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Slow Down Move Over: State officials discuss how these words can save lives

The Move Over law was put into place in 1999

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) - June is Slow Down Move Over month, but following that law can save lives year-round.

Motorists are to change lanes when they see construction workers or emergency vehicles with lights on the side of the road.

On Thursday, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials were joined by members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol near the intersection of I-80 and State Route 46 in Austintown to discuss how important this law is to anyone working the roadways.

At the press conference, traffic cones were set up to represent a life lost while working on one of Ohio's major highways.

One of those cones was for John Pasko, the ODOT worker who was struck and killed while removing trees alongside I-680 in Youngstown in March.

"Over the past six years, I've had a lot of close calls," said Andy Jackson.

Jackson has been working for ODOT for the last six years. He knows the risks involved with the job.

In the last year alone, close to 5,000 crashes happened in active work zones across Ohio, and according to ODOT, over 700 of those crashes resulted in injuries, with 19 turning out fatal.

"We have to be out there in the roadway, but we're out there making these roads safe. We just ask that they would slow and move over and just realize that we have families just like they do," Jackson said.

And by "they," Jackson is talking about drivers across the state and beyond.

Ohio law requires drivers to also change lanes and leave space for law enforcement, first responders and tow trucks. The Move Over law was put into place in 1999.

"It's very nerve-racking. We know there are times when we're working along the roadside and we see cars go by that are blocked, they don't have the opportunity to get over," Jackson said.

If that's the case, drivers should at least slow down to a reasonable and safe speed.

"To where we can notice that when you go by you've taken the time to recognize us and taken the time to slow down and show you actually care about us as individuals," Jackson said.

The Move Over law can be enforced by state Highway Patrol, local police officers and county sheriffs.

If you're caught violating it, fines are doubled.

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