The Move Over/Slow Down law in Texas requires motorists to change lanes and take caution on the road when approaching an authorized emergency or service utility vehicle and personnel while they are stopped on the side of the road. It is designed to keep first responders, police officers, and TxDOT workers safe. Any driver who violates this law can face steep penalties.
What To Know About the Move Over/Slow Down Law in Texas
The Texas Move Over/Slow Down law (TTC § 545.157) specifically requires drivers to:
- 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 to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph)
The original Move Over/Slow Down law was passed in 2003 and did not include service utility vehicles. As of September 1, 2019, service utility vehicles have been added, such as TxDOT vehicles, tow vehicles, power utility vehicles, and garbage and recycling vehicles. Along with police, fire, and EMS that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.
Violations of this law can result in a fine of up to $200, and 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.
Between 2016 and 2020, Texas DPS Troopers have been in 65 stationary crashes where either the Trooper or their vehicle was struck while stopped on the side of the highway doing their job.
How a Violation of the Move Over/Slow Down Law Can Impact a Car Accident Claim
While a Move Over/Slow Down violation can seem minor, it can cause significant repercussions in the event of an accident. If you are involved in a collision and cited for a Move Over/Slow Down violation, it will be particularly challenging to deny liability. If the other party can prove the accident would not have occurred if not for your negligence, then you will most likely be held responsible for the crash. Under Texas’ rule of comparative fault, you cannot recover compensation after an accident if you are found 51% or more at fault.
Common Defenses to the Move Over/Slow Down Law
Many times, factors like weather or traffic may prevent you from being able to safely move a lane away from vehicles parked on the side of the road. This has long posed a problem, as the specifics about what a driver should do in this scenario aren’t directly addressed. If you can prove that you were unable to move over or slow down, it may limit your liability for an accident.
Contact Us Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident that involved the Move Over/Slow Down law in Texas, call the Milano Legal Group. Our Houston car accident lawyer is here to help and fight for the compensation you deserve. Reach us online or call (713) 489-4270 today to schedule your free consultation.