Move Over….It’s The Law


With temperatures rising, Ohio roads and highways are busier as people embark on vacations and warm-weather activities. Understanding the importance of moving over for tow trucks and acknowledging the crucial role tow truck drivers play in ensuring road safety, risking their well-being to assist stranded motorists. All drivers must recognize and respect the important work these individuals do and the laws protecting their livelihoods.


The Ohio Move Over Law


Like other states, Ohio has specific provisions for the Move Over law (ORC 4511.213). This law requires drivers to change lanes away from stationary emergency vehicles with lights on. If a lane change isn’t possible, drivers must slow down significantly below the speed limit and proceed cautiously. Although this law has existed for years, many remain unaware of its importance in responsible driving.

For Ohio motorists, understanding the “Move Over” law isn’t just an option; it’s the law. According to ORC 4511.213, drivers must:

  • Move one lane over.
  • Reduce speed upon seeing any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.


Move over or slow down to emergency vehicles


Understanding the Consequences of Non-Compliance


The penalties for violating Ohio’s “Move Over, Slow Down” law have also been significantly hiked to ensure compliance and underline the severity of the offense. The law now includes the following penalties:


First Offense


A minor misdemeanor with a fine of up to $150 and two points on your license.


Second Offense


It is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $250 and three points on your license within two years.


Third Offense


A third-degree misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500, four points on your license, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension within two years.

These strict consequences are designed to send a clear message that disregarding the safety of roadside workers will not be tolerated.


Unpacking the OHSP Data


Since August 2023, Ohio State Highway Patrol (OHSP) troopers have issued 26,739 citations for violating Ohio’s Move Over law since 2018. This statistic might seem like another faceless data point. Still, to the families of tow truck drivers who’ve lost their loved ones, it’s a sobering reminder that ‘slowing down and moving over’ is more than just a slogan.



Understanding the Risk Tow Truck Drivers Face


Tow truck drivers are often unsung first responders. Their world is filled with risks, both existential and common. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that around 1,280 tow truck workers are injured annually. These incidents usually involve being hit by a towed car, traffic, mechanical issues, or job site hazards.


The Importance of Moving Over for Tow Trucks: The Statics


While 1,280 injuries occur yearly, the mortality figures are alarming. A tow truck driver dies every six days. This statistic is not just a data point but a stark reminder of the dangers they face. OSHA reports 26 fatal injuries in a year in the motor vehicle towing (MVT) industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) depicts a grim scenario with 231 work-related deaths over six years. Of these, 36% involved the tow truck operator being struck by a collision.


Safety Tips for Sharing the Road with Tow Trucks


  • Visibility Means Safety: Whether it’s the tow truck drivers’ fluorescent vests or the reflective markers they lay down, taking note of these visual cues can mean the difference between a close call and a devastating collision.


  • Mind the Barrier: Tow truck drivers need space to work safely. Creating a physical buffer by changing lanes or slowing down is the courteous act that can make their job—and your passage—safer.


  • Educate and Advocate: Awareness is the first step towards adherence. Familiarize yourself with Ohio’s Move Over laws and encourage others to do the same.


Why Move Over Matters


The Move Over law is more than just a rule; it shows unity. It highlights how all drivers play a part in protecting each other. This small act of care can prevent accidents and keep those who keep us safe on the road out of harm’s way.


Unique Dangers in Tow Truck Accidents


While all accidents share a specific core of trauma, tow truck accidents present additional hazards. The usual risk of managing traffic and roadside hazards is compounded by the additional danger of working around moved or still-moving vehicles. As essential as they are, roads and highways are the site of many of these injuries. Tow truck drivers can be struck while performing a recovery or even as they’re on the scene of another accident.


The Moment of Impact


Despite Ohio’s move-over law and many safety measures, tow truck drivers still face risk when performing their duties. If you’ve been in an accident involving a tow truck, you must know your rights and steps to protect yourself. Taking the right actions can help safeguard your financial stability and ensure you receive the care and support you need to recover fully.

Personal Injury Law and Tow Truck Accidents


Proving Negligence


Personal injury claims hinge on proving that another party was negligent. Proving negligence requires the injured party to demonstrate that a duty of care was owed, that the at-fault driver breached that duty, and that the breach directly caused the injuries. Tow truck accidents often involve negligence on the part of other drivers, but sometimes, additional factors, like a defective vehicle, come into play.

Damages and Compensation


In a personal injury case, damages refer to the various types of harm the victim experiences. These can be economic (like medical bills and lost wages) or non-economic (like pain and suffering or a loss of consortium). Proving damages is crucial to obtaining compensation.

Navigating the Legal Process


The process of filing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, especially for those who are still dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident. However, knowing what to expect can make the process more manageable.


Wrongful Death Claims and Tow Truck Accidents


When a Tragedy Occurs


Sadly, some tow truck accidents end in the worst possible outcome—a wrongful death. The grief can be overwhelming, but for the family left behind, there are often pressing financial concerns. A wrongful death claim can help address these concerns by seeking compensation for the losses associated with the death.


Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim


In Ohio, the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased have priority in filing a wrongful death claim. If no surviving members of the victim’s family are within these categories, another relative may be able to file the claim.


Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim


The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim vary from case to case. Still, they often include compensation for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income, and the deceased’s loss of society and companionship.


Workers Compensation for Tow Truck Accidents



The Basics of Workers Compensation


Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job. For a tow truck driver injured on the job, workers’ compensation can cover medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury. Multiple insurance plans can often cover damages resulting from a crash, including Worker’s Compensation and third-party personal injury claims against the at-fault parties auto insurance carrier.

Permanent Total Disability vs. Death Claims


If the injury results in a permanent total disability, the injured worker may be eligible for additional benefits. Moreover, if the injury is fatal, the family of the deceased may be eligible for death benefits.

The Process of Filing a Workers Compensation Claim


Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be complicated; however, with the proper guidance, you can obtain the benefits you are entitled to.

Protecting Ohio’s Roadside Heroes 


When accidents occur, legal and recovery procedures should not worsen the stress of a traumatic event. Skilled and compassionate legal advocates can protect your rights. They ensure you receive entitled compensation. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, seeking assistance from the top local injury lawyers in Northwest Ohio is crucial. A complimentary consultation with one of our Toledo, Ohio, accident lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can provide reassurance. Our consultations include legal options, case assessments, and potential compensation. These free consultations give accident victims legal support without financial burden. Personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.

Call Your Personal Injury lawyers at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.

If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Monroe – and seek the “best accident lawyer near me,” our skilled truck accident attorneys from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault are ready to represent you in personal injury or wrongful death cases. With a nearby personal injury attorney, help is just a call away.