DPS to ramp up enforcement of 'Move Over/Slow Down' law

Move Over Slow Down (Photo: Courtesy of Texas Department of Public Safety)

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Department of Public Safety is planning to crack down on drivers who fail to move over or slow down when passing certain vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and have their emergency lights turned on.

The Move Over/Slow Down law was originally passed in 2003 and requires drivers to move over or slow down when certain vehicles – including police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks – are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.

The law states a driver must either:

• 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 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph.)

DPS says drivers should only move over if they can do so safely and legally. If that's not possible, they should just slow down.

“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.”

DPS says periodic enforcement operations are planned throughout the year at various locations in Texas, with several operations planned in February.

“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 Director McCraw. “In addition to complying with the law to protect those who work on the side of the road, we encourage motorists to show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along our roadways. Let’s all get home safely.”

Drivers who violate the law may be fined up to $200. The fine increases to $500 if there is property damage. If violators cause bodily injury, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in possible jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000.

According to preliminary data, DPS troopers issued more than 10,650 warnings and citations to motorists violating the Move Over/Slow Down law in 2017.

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