ENGLEWOOD, Ohio (WDTN)- The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) says there was an increase in the number of plow drivers that were struck last winter from the previous winter.

ODOT says it’s vital to having this troubling trend stopped. Last winter, 61 plows were struck, up from 46 the year prior.

ODOT Press Secretary, Matt Bruning, said there was an increase, but says they were out on the roads in the winter more, which puts them at a higher risk of getting hit.

Chuck Ashmore, a 40-year ODOT highway technician who has been been struck before, said he is more nervous every year he goes out to plow.

“More distracted driving. People with the cell phones, laptops, you name it. I mean, they’re there on everything but concentrating on driving,“ Ashmore said.

Not giving enough distance between you and the plow could result in receiving a minor misdemeanor and fine.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Sgt. Tyler Ross says, “You can be cited for falling too close. And a lot of the times, like I said, that will lead to, you know, that will lead to an ACDA crash, which is a citation in itself.”

“It’s an assured clear distance ahead. So that basically means that you did not give yourself enough time to react to the vehicle ahead of you,” Sgt. Ross said.

Giving plow drivers room is not only the law, it is beneficial to the public to get to where they need to be.

“When you see us out there, we have the bright lights. I mean, you can’t not say you don’t see us because we’re there and just slow down a little bit, give us a little time, do what we’re doing. That way the roads would be opened up for everybody and they’ll be able to get to wherever they’re going and do what you need to do safely,” Ashmore said.

ODOT says they, just like everyone else, want to get home to their families.