DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A multi-agency campaign is working to keep roadside workers and drivers safe and decrease the number of deadly crashes.

Saturday, October 16, is National Move Over Day, stressing the importance of Move Over Laws.

The Move Over Law in Ohio has been in effect since 1999. It used to apply only to police and emergency vehicles. In 2013, the law was expanded to apply to any vehicle with flashing lights pulled off to the side of the road.

According to a national average, every week, one tow operator or roadside worker is hit and killed across the U.S.

With more than 15 years with AAA, Fleet Operations Manager, Chris Overpeck, knows the dangers.

“I started as a driver. I’ve had several close calls as a driver,” admits Overpeck.

Bad weather and speed can both play a role in crashes. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, there have been 546 crashes this year when drivers have failed to move over or slow down. Serious injuries occurred in 59 of those crashes, and 21 people died.

“As a human, how are you going to process knowing that you made a decision that caused the death of someone else?” questioned Overpeck.

One of the most recent cases was in July in Cincinnati when AAA tow driver Glen Ewing was hit and killed while putting a broken down vehicle on the back of a flatbed.

Overpeck said tragedies like this can easily be avoided by shifting at least one lane over and reducing your speed by 20 miles and hour.

“We’re all guilty of it. We get caught up in our daily lives. We’re in a hurry. We’re paying attention to how fast or how soon we can get to our destination, instead of paying attention to the task at hand, which is safely operating that motor vehicle,” states Overpeck. “We just came off a pandemic year. The state was shut down. Now that everything has opened back up, we are definitely starting to see pre-pandemic traffic levels. There’s a lot of distractions inside the car. When we talk about distractions, we automatically assume cell phone. It’s not just the cell phone. It’s your radio controls on the steering wheel now. That plays a factor, or having that conversation via blue-tooth through your vehicle, channel surfing, stuff like that all plays a role into it.”

Experts say drivers should be on the lookout for cones, flares, and ODOT signs over the highway notifying drivers what is ahead of them.

If drivers fail to follow the law, they could be charged or fined. So far this year, OSP has issued more than 3,500 citations.