TxDOT's "Be Safe. Drive Smart." safety initiative is urging motorists to follow the state's Move Over/Slow Down law in order to keep roadside workers safe.
According to TxDOT, the law requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching law enforcement, tow trucks, utility vehicles, emergency responders, and TxDOT vehicles stopped with activated overhead lights on the side of the road.
Drivers who fail to give emergency and work crews space to safely do their jobs face fines up to $2000, TxDOT said.
TxDOT said that police officers, tow truck drivers, and other roadside workers are hit, injured, or killed on the side of the road every year.
This year's effort to remind motorists to move over and slow down coincides with TxDOT's annual "Click It or Ticket" seat belt awareness campaign.
According to TxDOT, throughout November, troopers and officers statewide will step up enforcement of the state's seat belt laws, which means motorists may see law enforcement vehicles on the side of the road more often conducting traffic stops.
The Move Over/Slow Down law requires drivers to:
- Take safety precautions when they approach roadside law enforcement, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility vehicles and TxDOT vehicles with flashing lights on
- Move out of the lane closest to these vehicles when possible
- Slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit if safely switching lanes is not possible or the road doesn't offer multiple lanes
- Reduce speed to 5 mph on roadways with posted speed limits of 25 mph or less
The state's Move Over/Slow Down law, which was first passed in 2003 and applied to police, fire, and emergency medical service vehicles, has since been extended by the Texas Legislature to protect TxDOT vehicles, tow trucks, and utility service vehicles.