Be Warned: DPS Ramping Up Enforcement of Move Over/Slow Down Law
It was nearly 20 years ago that the Move Over/Slow Down Law went into effect on Texas roadways. It's one of those traffic laws for which you don't hear many people getting ticketed...kind of like the left lane is to be used for passing law.
Well, consider yourself warned. Wednesday, May 19, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety will be conducting an 'enforcement operation' in the Lufkin area. The DPS has been and will continue to periodically conduct these operations specifically focusing on those in violation of the Move Over/Slow Down Law.
So, what are the specifics of this law which was passed in Texas in 2003? Motorists are required to move over or slow down when certain vehicles – including police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks – are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. As a result of the 86th Legislative Session, highway maintenance or construction vehicles under contract with TxDOT, utility service vehicles, and stationary solid waste or recycling vehicles were added to the list of vehicles that require motorists to move over or slow down.
Specifically, Texas law states that 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 to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph)
Drivers should only move over if they can do so safely and legally; otherwise, they should slow down.
Violations of the law can result in a fine of 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. It can be an expensive violation, but the main reason you should adhere to the law is for the safety of others.
Data collected from January 2021 shows that DPS Troopers issued more than 5,000 warnings and citations to motorists violating the Move Over/Slow Down law. There will probably be more added to that total as a result of crackdown on violators in our area on Wednesday.