Are You Familiar With The Move Over Or Slow Down Law In Texas? You Should Be
You know I never really understood if it was the law or just common courtesy to yield to law enforcement and first responders when you hear the sirens and see them coming your way. My father was a fireman for many years, so when I was taught to drive, that was something he was adamant about, 'whenever you see a fire truck coming with the sirens and lights flashing get out of the way!' So to be honest I might have just thought it was a 'dad rule?'
As an adult, I discovered it is an 'everyone rule' and I do it. You see the lights flashing, you see them swiftly coming at you, the correct thing to do is calmly, safely pull over to the side of the road until the caravan passes. Often it is a law enforcement vehicle, followed by an ambulance and/or a first responder vehicle.
One thing I was unsure of however was whether or not it is illegal not to pull off to the side of the road. Can I be ticketed for this? The answer is yes.
According to TXDOT,
Drivers who fail to give emergency and work crews space to safely do their jobs can receive a ticket with a fine of up to $200. If there is a crash that causes injury to a worker, drivers can be fined up to $2,000.
More specifically, the 'Move Over or Slow Down' law has required drivers to yield to police, fire and emergency vehicles. However, in recent years it has been modified to also include the same protection for TxDOT work crews and other roadside workers.
This is exactly how it is spelled out on the TXDOT website, in case you need clarification:
This law requires drivers to move over a lane or slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement, tow trucks, utility service vehicles, TxDOT vehicles or other highway construction or maintenance vehicles using visual signals or flashing lights activated on the roadside. On roadways with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour.
So yes you can be ticketed for not abiding by the law. Move over or slow down, it's just that simple.