On a ride-along with Sgt. Chris Smith of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Ironton Post, 13 News reporter Randy Yohe was not out five minutes when they saw their first of way-too-many tailgate violators.

“They are less than one car length apart,” Smith said of a violator. “They have plenty of room to pull over.”

After pulling over a red car, Smith told the driver that the reason he pulled them over was because they were following too closely to the car in front of them. He also told them it is a leading cause in accidents.

“If we focused on it a lot, it would be a very high number [of citations],” Smith said.

Eva Reynolds was driving the car Smith pulled over.

“He got me,” she said. “I didn’t realize I was that close. I didn’t know it was the leading cause of crashes in Lawrence County.”

This problem on the road caused 246 in Lawrence County, Ohio last year. Across Ohio last year, the official violation – failing to maintain an assured distance ahead – caused a record 67 thousand crashes. It’s a primary traffic offense.

“It is something we enforce all the time,” Smith said. “So many of the violations happen every day, people in a hurry to get home.”

The old rule of thumb is still a good one: keep one car length distance for every ten miles per hour of speed. Sgt. Smith said it still applies today.

“If you’re going 55, you need to remember to stay about five and a half car lengths behind.

The Sergeant said it did not matter, going slow or fast, in open or congested area, following too closely is a dangerous violation of the law.

“Yes, I’ve seen a light bulb here,” Reynolds said. “I’ll watch my distance now.”