On January 16, 2019, Texas DPS said they are ramping up the enforcement of the the Move Over/Slow Down statutes across the great state of Texas. According to DPS records, DPS issued more than 41,000 warnings and citations to motorists who were alleged to have violated the law in 2018.
Pursuant Texas Transportation Code Section 545.157, the range of punishment is wide and varies anywhere from a $200 fine only ticket in Justice of the Peace or Municipal Courts to a Class B Misdemeanor filed in County Court or County Court at Law which carries up to a $2000 fine and up to six months in County Jail, depending on the circumstances involved. DPS is not the only agency who can issue the citations or arrest for the violation; local agencies such as the Sheriff’s Department, Constable’s Office, City Police and more can, as well.
This law went into effect in 2003 and most do not realize it is applicable to not only law enforcement vehicles, but also to fire, EMS, DOT vehicles, and tow trucks which are stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights activated.
DPS Posted on their Southeast Texas Region Facebook Page “In light of the numerous vehicle crashes that occur in Texas and across the nation on a daily basis, and the unfortunate fact that many still violate the state law that has been in effect for 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 the roadways. Let’s all get home safely.”
The law specifically states a driver must either:
- Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicle(s) stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or
- Slow down to 20mph below the speed limit (if the speed is below 25mph, the driver must slow to 5mph.
So, slow down and move over…keep those working the roads safe. If you, a family member, or a friend ends up getting charged with the offense, well…you know what to do.