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Jail Time Now Possible If Drivers Don’t Move Over or Slow Down

Drivers are required by law to “Move Over or Slow Down” when passing roadside workers

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The state’s Move Over or Slow Down law requires drivers to move over—putting a lane between them and roadside workers—or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when passing law enforcement, tow trucks, utility vehicles, emergency responders and TxDOT vehicles stopped with activated overhead lights on the side of the road. Image courtesy of TxDOT
The state’s Move Over or Slow Down law requires drivers to move over—putting a lane between them and roadside workers—or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when passing law enforcement, tow trucks, utility vehicles, emergency responders and TxDOT vehicles stopped with activated overhead lights on the side of the road. Image courtesy of TxDOT
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AUSTIN – While millions of Texans commute to work on highways every week, they pass inches away from the worksites for thousands of law enforcement personnel, first responders and road maintenance crews. Unfortunately, many of them are killed in crashes every year on the job, which is why TxDOT is calling on Texas drivers to keep roadside workers safe by remembering to “Move Over or Slow Down.”

The state’s Move Over or Slow Down law requires drivers to move over—putting a lane between them and roadside workers—or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when passing law enforcement, tow trucks, utility vehicles, emergency responders and TxDOT vehicles stopped with activated overhead lights on the side of the road. 

Changes to the law went into effect on Sept. 1, 2023, and impose heftier penalties for violations, including fines of up to $1,250 for a first offense. Stricter penalties for drivers who cause serious injuries by failing to follow these rules now include possible jail time and a fine of up to $4,000.

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Every year, law enforcement officers, tow truck drivers and other roadside workers do essential work protecting and maintaining our roads, but some are hit, injured or killed while serving our community. TxDOT’s Be Safe. Drive Smart. public awareness campaign asks all drivers to respect these workers who are vital to keeping our roads clear and safe.

The Move Over or Slow Down law requires drivers to:

  • Be on alert and pay attention when approaching roadside law enforcement, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility vehicles and TxDOT vehicles with flashing lights on.
  • When possible, move out of the lane closest to these vehicles.
  • Slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit if safely switching lanes is not possible or the road doesn’t offer multiple lanes.
  • Reduce speed to 5 mph on roadways with posted speed limits of 25 mph or less.

The state’s Move Over or Slow Down law was first passed in 2003 and applied to law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services vehicles. The Texas Legislature has since extended the law’s protections to include TxDOT vehicles, tow trucks and utility service vehicles.

Be Safe. Drive Smart. is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.

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