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Commission Adopts Amended Ordinance Creating a $500 Fine for Driving Over Flooded Roads

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Adopted on first reading, the Pharr City Commission, approved an Ordinance amending Chapter 126, Traffic and Vehicles, Article IV, Operation of Vehicles Generally, by adding a new Section 126-150, traversing flooded streets with a vehicle.

Due to the recent rains and flooding the City has identified the need for an ordinance addressing vehicles traveling through flooded streets that have resulted in damage to surrounding properties as a result of the wake caused by the vehicles. The Commission understands that flooding is a significant concern for many Pharr residents, and despite the City’s continuous flood mitigation efforts over the past several years, heavy rainfall periodically results in flooded street conditions throughout the City. Prohibiting such activity helps with the City’s ongoing flood hazard mitigation efforts to reduce damage to homes and personal property from flooding, and will enhance the City’s continued participation in the Community Rating System and National Flood Insurance Program.

“People need to be mindful that when they are driving through flooded roadways, they exacerbate flooding in nearby homes by creating a wake, which pushes water further into homes and property,” said Commissioner Daniel Chavez. “Unfortunately, we have seen this happen too many times and we want to help protect our citizens and mitigate the damage to their homes,” he added. 

Under the new amended Ordinance:

  •  It shall be unlawful for any person to traverse a flooded street in an automobile, truck, boat, or other vehicle or vessel at such speed as to create a wake therein that may or is likely to cause personal injury or damage or increased flooding to the property or premises adjoining such flooded street or streets. 
  • It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the person was performing a rescue operation or was protecting the public order and safety.
  • Each violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00. Every violation of this Ordinance may occur, shall be considered a unique and separate criminal offense.
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