By: Pastrana & Garcia Injury Law, Published: August 16 2023

The Move Over or Slow Down Law: Protecting Those Who Protect Us

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    There are already several laws on the books in Texas to protect drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians in their travels. But recently, a law has been added to protect police, government workers, first responders, and others. The Texas Move Over or Slow Down Law requires drivers to reduce their speed and give plenty of room when an emergency vehicle is on the road.

    What Is the Move Over or Slow Down Law?

    The Texas Move Over or Slow Down Law requires all drivers to move over one lane or slow down to 20 MPH below the speed limit when approaching a police car, emergency vehicle, utility service vehicle, or TxDOT vehicle. In addition, if the road has a posted speed limit of 25 MPH or less, drivers must lower their speed to 5 MPH.

    If you don’t give law enforcement, work, and emergency crews sufficient room for their work on the road, you can be fined up to $200. In addition, if an accident results in injury, you can be fined up to $2,000.

    Why Was the Move Over or Slow Down Law Enacted?

    The idea behind the Move Over or Slow Down Law was to reduce roadside accidents on Texas highways. These incidents have continued to be a serious problem in recent years, with 65 Texas DPS troopers in roadside accidents between 2016 and 2020. The original Move Over or Slow Down Law was enacted in 2003, but service utility vehicles were not included in the initial draft of the law. These vehicles were included in the 2019 version along with others, such as tow, power utility, and garbage trucks.

    These crashes often involve a moving vehicle hitting a stationary one at high speed, so the impact can be catastrophic. If you’re injured in a roadside accident by a moving vehicle, you could suffer severe injuries, such as broken bones, neck and head trauma, internal injuries, cuts and scrapes, or burns. The updated Move Over or Slow Down Law has helped reduce severe motor vehicle accidents on Texas roadways.

    Which Emergency Workers Are Protected by the Move Over or Slow Down Law in Texas?

    This law was expanded recently to offer protection to more workers, including:

    • Law enforcement officers
    • Firefighters
    • First responders
    • Garbage and recycling workers
    • Utility workers
    • All Texas Department of Transportation workers
    • Tow truck drivers

    What Are the Penalties for Disobeying the Move Over or Slow Down Law in Texas?

    If you do not comply with the Move Over or Slow Down Law in Texas, you will be subject to the following penalties:

    • If you don’t pull over and slow down, you’ll be fined $200.
    • If you break this law and cause property damage, you can be fined up to $500.
    • If you violate the law and there is an accident and injury to protected workers, you can receive a Class B misdemeanor charge. This can result in a $2,000 fine and jail time.

    What to Do If You’re Hurt Because of a Violation

    If you’re an emergency or law enforcement worker, you are entitled to protection when you perform your duty on Texas highways. If a driver breaks the Texas Move Over or Slow Down Law and causes an injury, you could be entitled to compensation, so contact a Pflugerville car accident attorney. You may be able to receive compensation from the negligent driver for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

    How a Violation of the Move Over or Slow Down Law Can Impact a Car Accident Claim in Texas

    If you are injured in a car accident that involves the Move Over or Slow Down Law, it can affect your car accident claim, especially if you are uninsured. As noted above, if you are a state worker and are hit by a vehicle violating the law, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit for your losses.

    Other scenarios involving a Move Over law violation could also affect a personal injury claim. For example, suppose a driver violates the law and hits an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. You’re passing by, the accident involves your car, and you’re hurt. The violation could be evidence that the other driver was at fault.

    Also, if you are in a crash because you violated this law, denying the incident was your fault can be difficult. Note that under the state’s comparative fault rule, you cannot obtain compensation if you are more than 51% at fault.

    Talk to an Experienced Pflugerville Personal Injury Attorney

    Auto accidents in Texas caused by drivers violating the Move Over or Slow Down Law can lead to horrifying accidents and injuries, even death. If you were hurt in a crash involving someone violating this law, contact our Pflugerville car accident attorneys at Pastrana & García Injury Law today.