AUSTIN – The side of a highway may be a chaotic environment, but it’s also the daily office space for law enforcement, first responders, utility workers, tow truck drivers and TxDOT workers. That’s why TxDOT is calling on Texas drivers to keep these roadside workers safe.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” safety initiative is urging motorists to follow the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law. This 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.
Unfortunately, police officers, tow truck drivers and other roadside workers are hit, injured or killed on the side of the road every year. TxDOT is calling on all drivers to respect these workers who are vital to keeping our roads clear and safe.
This year’s effort to remind motorists to move over and slow down coincides with National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week (November 9–15) and TxDOT’s annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt awareness campaign. 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.
- When possible, move out of the lane closest to these vehicles.
- 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 was first passed in 2003 and applied to police, fire and emergency medical service vehicles. The Texas Legislature has since extended the law’s protections to TxDOT vehicles, tow trucks and utility service vehicles.
“Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at [email protected] or (512) 463-8700.