The Texas Department of Public Safety and Denton Police Department have begun ramping up its Move Over/Slow Down enforcement in Denton County, according to a news release.
The law enforcement agencies announced late last week that it will be enhancing enforcement efforts in the county beginning Monday. DPS plans these periodic enforcement operations throughout the year at various locations in the state.
The move over/slow down law, originally passed in 2003, requires motorists to move over or slow down when certain vehicles – including police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks – are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.
“Our Highway Patrol Troopers and other officers risk their lives every day for the people of Texas, and their safety is particularly vulnerable while working on the side of the road, where the slightest mistake by a passing motorist can end in tragedy,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a prepared statement. “While our officers are serving and protecting Texans, we’re asking drivers to do their part by adhering to the law – simply 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 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.
“In addition to complying with the law to protect those who work on the side of the road, we encourage motorists to show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along our roadways,” McGraw said. “Let’s all get home safely.”
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.
Preliminary data from 2017 shows that DPS issued more than 10,650 warnings and citations to motorists violating the Move Over/Slow Down law.