by Jim Adler
Texas’ “Move Over” law — designed to get drivers to slow down or yield more space to emergency, fire and police vehicles — soon will cover TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) construction crews too. And if you violate that law, fines will reach up to $2,000.
Starting Sept. 1, Texas drivers will be required by law to slow down or move over when they approach road construction workers, or construction vehicles which are stopped while flashing overhead amber or blue lights.
TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson said he is “very pleased the Legislature recognizes the dangers our employees face each day while working to maintain and build the state’s vast highway network.” He said over 100 TxDOT employees doing construction work have been hit and killed by drivers since the year 1938.
Under the expanded law taking effect next month, drivers must move out of the lane nearest to a TxDOT crew or vehicle whenever possible, or they must lower their speed to 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit. The latter measure is acceptable if the roadway doesn’t provide multiple lanes for moving over.
On roads whose the posted speed limit is 25 mph or under, drivers must lower their own speed to 5 mph.
By the way, tow trucks also are covered under Texas’ Move Over law, also known as the Texas Move Over Act.
The minimum fine for violating the law is $200 plus paying court costs. When property damage occurs, the violation becomes a Class C misdemeanor with larger fines. And if there’s an injury, jail time can be imposed.