HOUSTON – The Department of Public Safety wants people to know that it is ramping up the enforcement of Texas’ “Move Over/Slow Down” law as construction ramps up during the summer months.
According to a news release, the law, which was implemented in 2003, requires that drivers move over or slow down when passing vehicles — including police, EMS, fire, TxDOT, or tow trucks – that are stopped on the side of the road with the emergency lights on.
DPS Troopers stepped up enforcement in Harris and Chambers counties on Wednesday and will continue to do so across the state throughout the year.
“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 DPS Director Steven 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.”
According to Texas law, a driver must:
- Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or
- Slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph)
Violators can face the following consequences:
- Up to $200 for not following the law
- $500 if the violation results in property damage
- Charge of a Class B misdemeanor that could result in jail time or a fine up to $2,000
In the last five years, DPS Troopers have been involved in 65 stationary crashes where their vehicles were struck while on the side of the road, according to the release.