Texas Department of Public Safety will begin targeted enforcement this week in Bowie County to remind motorists of the state's Move Over, Slow Down law.
Beginning Thursday, DPS troopers will focus their efforts on Interstate 30 throughout Bowie County.
The law was passed in 2003 and 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," DPS Director Steven McCraw said. "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:
n 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
n 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.)
Drivers should only move over if they can do so safely and legally; otherwise, they should slow down.
"In light of the numerous vehicle crashes that occur in Texas and across the nation on a daily basis and the unfortunate fact the many still violate the state law that has been in effect for nearly 15 years, we are increasing our enforcement and education efforts related to this law," McCraw said. "... We encourage motorists to show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along our roadways. Let's all get home safely."
Violations of the law can result in a fine up to $200; the fine increases to $500 with property damage. Violators causing bodily injury 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.