By Paul Workman, State Representative for House District 47
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is rightfully placing particular emphasis on informing the public about and enforcing the “Move Over/Slow Down” law as it relates to tow trucks. This newer law requires a motorist to move over or slow down when certain vehicles are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. You may also see electronic signs from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) that read: “If Tow Truck Stopped Ahead, Move Over or Slow Down, It’s The Law.”
During the 2011 legislative session, the law was changed to add tow trucks to police, fire, and EMS vehicles stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated for which motorists are required to “Move Over or Slow Down.” Here’s what motorists must do:
- move from the lane closest to the stopped vehicle if there is more than one available lane in the same direction of travel; or,
- slow to 20 miles below the speed limit if the motorist has no option of vacating or moving out of the lane closest to the stopped vehicle.
According to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the agency issued more than 17,000 warning and citations last year for violation of the “Move Over/Slow Down” law and another 6,000 through the first five months of this year. Violation of this law can result in fines up to $200. The punishment is more severe if there is property damage, and jail time is possible if someone is injured.
Let’s all be safe drivers and help to ensure the safety of emergency personnel and tow trucks drivers doing their job on the side of the roads by moving over or slowing down.
Representative Workman is the current state representative for House District 47.