New law, effective Sept. 1, aims to reduce crashes, save lives

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, August 31, 2013

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September not only brings the start of fall, but also the start of a new requirement for Texas drivers.

The state’s “Move Over/Slow Down” law, which traditionally has required drivers to yield to police, fire and emergency vehicles, has been expanded to provide that same protection for Texas Department of Transportation workers.

Too Close for Comfort

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT – TxDOT workers and contractors take their lives into their hands when they are out on highway projects. Starting Sept. 1, drivers will be required by law to slow down and/or move over when they see workers with lights flashing – the same requirement drivers now face for law enforcement officers. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Effective Sept. 1, drivers must move over or slow down when approaching TxDOT workers and vehicles that are stopped with overhead flashing blue or amber lights.

“We are very pleased the Legislature recognizes the dangers our employees face each day while working to maintain and build the state’s vast highway network,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT’s executive director, noting that more than 100 TxDOT employees working in construction areas have been struck and killed by motorists since 1938. “We are hopeful that this new protection for our crews will lead to fewer preventable deaths and injuries.”

The addition to the “Move Over” law requires motorists to move out of the lane closest to the TxDOT vehicle when possible, or reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour below the posted limit. If the road does not offer multiple lanes, the driver must slow down.

On roadways with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour. Violators can be fined up to $2,000.

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