The year 2018 has seen the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) increase enforcement of the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law. Texas began periodic enforcement operations by DPS Troopers in January 2018 with such operations planned throughout Texas for the entire year. “In light of the numerous vehicle crashes that occur in Texas and across the nation on a daily basis, and the unfortunate fact the many still violate the state law that has been in effect for nearly 15 years, we are increasing our enforcement and education efforts related to this law,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.
The Move Over/Slow Down law was originally enacted in 2003 by the Texas legislature. It requires motorists to move over or slow down when specified motor vehicles such as police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks are stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights activated. Data from 2017 indicates that the Texas DPS issued more than 10,650 warnings and citations to individual motorists who violated the Move Over/Slow Down law.
The Texas Move Over/Slow Down law mandates that a driver must either:
- Vacate the lane closest to the vehicle(s) stopped on the side of the road if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction, or
- Slow down to a speed that is 20 mph below the speed limit. If the speed limit is below 25 mph, a motorist must slow down to 5 mph.
Drivers are required to move over only if they may do so safely and legally, otherwise, they must slow down accordingly. Violators of the Move Over/Slow Down law face fines of up to $200 with the fine increasing to $500 if any property damage occurs as a result of the infraction. If violators cause bodily injury, they may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor that includes possible jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000.
“Our Highway Patrol Troopers and other officers risk their lives every day for the people of Texas, and their safety is particularly vulnerable while working on the side of the road, where the slightest mistake by a passing motorist can end in tragedy,” said McCraw. “While our officers are serving and protecting Texans, we’re asking drivers to do their part by adhering to the law – simply move over or slow down.”
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