Chapter 5589: OFFENSES RELATING TO HIGHWAYS

5589.01 Obstructing public grounds, highway, street, or alley.

No person shall obstruct or encumber by fences, buildings, structures, or otherwise, a public ground, highway, street, or alley of a municipal corporation.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.02 Altering or injuring marker or monument.

No person shall alter, deface, injure, or destroy any marker or monument placed along, upon, or near a public highway, by the proper authorities, to mark the boundaries thereof, or for any other purpose.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.03 Refusal or neglect of officials to perform duty.

No county engineer, township trustee, or township highway superintendent shall willfully neglect, fail, or refuse to perform the duties of his office. Conviction for such neglect, failure, or refusal shall operate as a removal from office.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.04 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 07-01-1996

5589.05 Interfering with drawbridge on Muskingum improvement.

No person, except a commissioner, engineer, superintendent, lock tender, bridge tender, or collector and without express direction or permission from one of them, shall open or interfere with a drawbridge on the Muskingum improvement.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.06 Obstructing ditch, drain, or watercourse - duty of superintendent.

No person shall wrongfully obstruct any ditch, drain, or watercourse along, upon or across a public highway, or divert any water from adjacent lands to or upon a public highway. Whenever the township highway superintendent learns of any obstruction of any ditch, drain, or watercourse along, upon, or across a public highway, or diversion of any water from adjacent lands to or upon a public highway, he shall notify the board of township trustees, which shall cause written notice thereof to be personally served upon the person, firm, or corporation, or upon any agent in charge of the property of the person, firm, or corporation causing such obstruction or diversion. Notice may be served by a constable of the proper township or any person authorized and deputed therefor by the board of township trustees, and shall describe and locate said obstruction or diversion and direct its immediate removal. If the person, company, or corporation does not within five days from the receipt of written notice proceed to remove such obstruction and complete the removal within a reasonable time, the township highway superintendent, upon the order of the board of township trustees, shall remove the obstruction. The expense incurred shall be paid in the first instance out of any money levied, collected, and available for highway purposes and shall then be collected from the person, company, or corporation by civil action by the board of township trustees, and paid into the highway fund of the township.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.07 Failure to make levy or furnish estimates.

No person charged with the duty of making any levy or furnishing any estimates or budgets requesting any levy or allowance for the construction, improvement, maintenance, or repair of any public highway, bridge, or culvert shall fail to make such levy or allowance, or furnish such estimate, budget, or request.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.08 Operating traction engines upon improved highways.

No person shall drive over the improved highways of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, a traction engine or tractor with tires or wheels equipped with ice picks, spuds, spikes, chains, or other projections of any kind extending beyond the cleats, or no person shall tow or in any way pull another vehicle over the improved highways of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, which towed or pulled vehicle has tires or wheels equipped with ice picks, spuds, spikes, chains or other projections of any kind. "Traction engine" or "tractor," as used in this section, applies to all self-propelling engines equipped with metal-tired wheels operated or propelled by any form of engine, motor, or mechanical power.

No municipal corporation, county, or township shall adopt, enforce, or maintain any ordinance, rule, or regulation contrary to or inconsistent with this section, or require of any person any license tax upon or registration fee for any traction engine, tractor, or trailer, or any permit or license to operate. Operators of traction engines or tractors shall have the same rights upon the public streets and highways as the drivers of any other vehicles, unless some other safe and convenient way is provided, and no public road open to traffic shall be closed to traction engines or tractors.

Effective Date: 10-16-1953

5589.081 Studded tires - prohibited acts.

(A) For purposes of this section, "studded tire" means any tire designed for use on a vehicle and equipped with metal studs or studs of wear-resisting material that project beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire; and "motor vehicle," "street or highway," "public safety vehicle," and "school bus" have the same meanings as given those terms in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code.

(B)

(1) Except as provided in division (B)(2) of this section, no person shall operate any motor vehicle, other than a public safety vehicle or school bus, that is equipped with studded tires on any street or highway in this state, except during the period extending from the first day of November of each year through the fifteenth day of April of the succeeding year.

(2) A person may operate a motor vehicle that is equipped with retractable studded tires with the studs retracted at any time of the year, but shall operate the motor vehicle with the studs extended only as provided in division (B)(1) of this section.

(C) This section does not apply to the use of tire chains when there is snow or ice on the streets or highways where such chains are being used, or the immediate vicinity thereof.

Effective Date: 03-12-1975; 2008 SB44 08-22-2008

5589.09 Failure, neglect or refusal to drag road.

No person, charged with the duty of causing any unimproved or gravel road or part thereof to be dragged, shall willfully fail, neglect, or refuse to cause the same to be done, in such manner and within the time fixed by the sections of the Revised Code applicable thereto, or by the proper authority.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.10 Digging, excavating, piling earth, or building fence on highway.

No person shall dig up, remove, excavate, or place any earth or mud upon any portion of any public highway or build a fence upon the same without authority to do so. Each day that such person continues to dig up, remove, or excavate any portion of the public highway constitutes a separate offense.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.11 Failure or neglect to cut weeds, briers, or bushes.

No person, charged with the duty of cutting, destroying, or removing any weeds, briers, or bushes upon or along a public highway shall willfully fail, neglect, or refuse to cut, destroy, or remove such weeds, briers, or bushes as required in sections 5579.04 and 5579.08 of the Revised Code or on the order of the proper officials.

Effective Date: 07-04-1984

5589.12 Possession of tools belonging to state or county.

No person shall, without being authorized, have in his control or possession any equipment, tools, implements, or other property belonging to the state, county, or township.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.13 Fines credited to maintenance and repair fund.

All fines collected for violations of sections 5589.02 to 5589.14 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, shall be paid into the county treasury and placed to the credit of the fund for the maintenance and repair of the highways within such county.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.14 Prosecution of offenses.

The prosecuting attorney shall prosecute all offenders under sections 5589.02 to 5589.13 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, upon application of any official or individual filing any affidavit before any magistrate of the county charging an offense under such sections. This section shall not prevent the prosecuting attorney or any other official from prosecuting offenders under such sections upon his own initiative.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.20 Findings as to improper obstruction of railroad grade crossings by trains.

The general assembly finds that the improper obstruction of railroad grade crossings by trains is a direct threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state inasmuch as improper obstructions create uniquely different local safety problems by preventing the timely movement of ambulances, the vehicles of law enforcement officers and firefighters, and official and unofficial vehicles transporting health care officials and professionals. It is the intent of the general assembly in amending sections 5589.21 , 5589.24 , and 5589.99 of the Revised Code that the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state be enhanced through those amendments.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000

5589.21 Obstruction of roads by railroads.

(A) No railroad company shall obstruct, or permit or cause to be obstructed a public street, road, or highway, by permitting a railroad car, locomotive, or other obstruction to remain upon or across it for longer than five minutes, to the hindrance or inconvenience of travelers or a person passing along or upon such street, road, or highway.

(B) At the end of each five minute period of obstruction of a public street, road, or highway, each railroad company shall cause such railroad car, locomotive, or other obstruction to be removed for sufficient time, not less than three minutes, to allow the passage of persons and vehicles waiting to cross.

(C) This section does not apply to obstruction of a public street, road, or highway by a continuously moving through train or caused by circumstances wholly beyond the control of the railroad company, but does apply to other obstructions, including without limitation those caused by stopped trains and trains engaged in switching, loading, or unloading operations.

(D) If a railroad car, locomotive, or other obstruction is obstructing a public street, road, or highway in violation of division (A) of this section and the violation occurs in the unincorporated area of one or more counties, or in one or more municipal corporations, the officers and employees of each affected county or municipal corporation may charge the railroad company with only one violation of the law arising from the same facts and circumstances and the same act.

(E) Upon the filing of an affidavit or complaint for violation of division (A) of this section, summons shall be issued to the railroad company pursuant to division (B) of section 2935.10 of the Revised Code, which summons shall be served on the regular ticket or freight agent of the company in the county where the offense occurred.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000

5589.211 Abandoned locomotive obstructing street or road.

No railroad company shall obstruct, or permit or cause to be obstructed, a public street, road, or highway, by permitting any part of a train whose crew has abandoned the locomotive to remain across it for longer than five minutes to the hindrance or inconvenience of travelers or a person passing along or upon the street, road, or highway, unless the safety of the train crew requires them to abandon the locomotive.

Upon the filing of an affidavit or complaint for violation of this section, summons shall be issued to the railroad company pursuant to division (B) of section 2935.10 of the Revised Code, which summons shall be served on the regular ticket or freight agent of the company in the county where the offense occurred.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000

5589.22 Damages.

A corporation or person shall be liable for all damages arising to a person from an obstruction or injury to a road or highway as provided by section 5589.21 of the Revised Code, which damage shall be recovered by an action at the suit of the board of township trustees of the township in which the offense is committed, or of any person suing therefor before a judge of a county court or judge of a municipal court having jurisdiction within the county where the offense is committed, or by indictment in the court of common pleas in the proper county. Each twenty-four hours the person or corporation, after being notified, permits such obstruction to remain, shall be an additional offense against such section.

Effective Date: 01-10-1961

5589.23 Company liable for fines against employees.

A railroad company or other corporation, the servant, agent, or employee of which, in any manner, obstructs a public road or highway, shall pay all penalties which may be assessed against such servant, agent, or employee for obstructing it. The penalties may be enforced by execution issued against such corporation on the judgment rendered against the servant, agent, or employee.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.24 Fines paid to railroad grade crossing improvement funds.

(A) All fines collected for a violation of division (A) of section 5589.21 or 5589.211 of the Revised Code shall be paid as follows:

(1) To the railroad grade crossing improvement fund of the county if the violation occurred in an unincorporated area of the county;

(2) To the railroad grade crossing improvement fund of the municipal corporation in which the violation occurred if the violation occurred in a municipal corporation.

(B) The board of county commissioners of each county and the legislative authority of each municipal corporation shall establish a railroad grade crossing improvement fund. The fund shall consist of fines paid to the county or municipal corporation under division (A) of this section and any other moneys allocated to the fund by the county or municipal corporation. Except as otherwise provided in this division, a county or municipal corporation shall use its railroad grade crossing improvement fund to pay any part of the cost assigned by the public utilities commission to the county or municipal corporation under section 4907.471 of the Revised Code. The county or municipal corporation also may use its railroad grade crossing improvement fund for other improvements to railroad grade crossings, including signs, signals, gates, or other protective devices, as the board of county commissioners or legislative authority of a municipal corporation determines to be appropriate.

If, during any fiscal year, the fines a county collects for violations of division (A) of section 5589.21 and section 5589.211 of the Revised Code equal three thousand dollars or less, during the subsequent fiscal year the county may use that amount of money in its railroad grade crossing improvement fund for any purpose that the board of county commissioners determines to be appropriate.

If, during any fiscal year, the fines a county collects for violations of division (A) of section 5589.21 and section 5589.211 of the Revised Code exceed three thousand dollars, during the subsequent two fiscal years the county shall use all the money in its railroad grade crossing improvement fund only for those purposes described in this division. In such a case, the amount of money the county collects for violations of division (A) of section 5589.21 and section 5589.211 of the Revised Code during the fiscal year immediately following the second of those two fiscal years shall determine the disposition under this division of the money the county collects during that fiscal year.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000

5589.31 Construction of walk or ditch across highway.

No person, firm, or corporation shall construct a walk or dig a ditch across a public highway outside any municipal corporation without the consent of the director of transportation in the case of an intercounty or a state highway, county engineer in the case of a county road, or board of township trustees in the case of a township road.

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5589.32 Erection of advertising signs resembling those required of railroad companies.

No person, firm, or corporation shall erect, display, or maintain an advertising or other sign on, along, or near any public highway, in any county of this state, which resembles the highway crossing signs which steam and interurban railroads have erected, in compliance with section 4955.33 of the Revised Code, at the crossings of public roads and railroads.

The public utilities commission shall enforce this section, prosecute any violations thereof, and order the removal of any such prohibited sign.

The attorney general and the prosecuting attorney of any county shall carry into effect the orders of the commission made under this section and shall prosecute any violations of such orders.

Each day that any violation of this section continues constitutes a separate offense. The erection, display, or maintenance of each advertising or other sign referred to in this section, except as provided in section 4955.33 of the Revised Code, constitutes a separate offense.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5589.33 Advertising within the right-of-way of public highway.

Except as provided in this section and in section 5515.04 of the Revised Code, no person shall place within the limits of the right-of-way or affix any sign, poster, or advertisement to any tree or utility pole within the right-of-way of any public highway outside of municipal corporations. No person, organization, corporation, or group shall place within the limits of the right-of-way any object as determined by the department of transportation to obscure sight distance.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the erection and maintaining of notices of the existence and location of public utility facilities under or upon the highway and warnings against disturbing such facilities, or of notices that emergency or other public telephones are available for users of the highway at specified locations upon or near the highway.

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5589.99 Penalty.

(A) Whoever violates section 5589.01 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(B) Whoever violates section 5589.02 , 5589.03 , 5589.05 , 5589.06 , 5589.08 , 5589.081 , 5589.09 , 5589.11 , 5589.12 , 5589.32 , or 5589.33 of the Revised Code is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(C) Whoever violates section 5589.07 or 5589.10 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(D) Whoever violates division (A) of section 5589.21 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree and shall be fined one thousand dollars.

(E) Whoever violates section 5589.211 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree and shall be fined five thousand dollars.

Effective Date: 10-27-2000