Failure To Adhere To Move Over Laws Causes Serious Accident
You’re driving to your next destination and hear the sirens of an ambulance that is quickly approaching. Do you know what to do next? According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, many Texans aren’t sure what action to take when an emergency vehicle emerges with its sirens and lights on. One recent incident serves as a reminder – after a Texas driver failed to adhere to move over laws when an ambulance was driving nearby, a fatal car accident resulted.
Move Over Laws in Texas
The Texas “Move Over” law, originally passed in 2003, requires drivers to move over or slow down when certain vehicles, including police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, Texas Department of Transportation, or tow trucks, are stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights on.
Specifically, in order to ensure the safety of Texas drivers as well as emergency responders and highway patrol workers, Texas law states the following:
- Drivers must vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle if the road has multiple lanes heading in the same direction.
- Drivers should only move over if they can do so safely and legally; otherwise, they should slow down.
- If drivers cannot change lanes, they must slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.
- If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph.
Despite the Texas “Move Over” Law being in effect for 16 years, many drivers still violate the law or claim to be unaware of the rules. In 2017, more than 10,650 warnings and citations were issued to Texas motorists violating the move over/slow down obligation.
If violated, there are criminal consequences. Fines ranging from $200 to $500 (if there is property damage) can be issued. If injuries ensued, the party responsible can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, which can result in a $2,000 fine or even jail time. But, importantly, injured parties can also maintain a civil lawsuit for damages, regardless of whether or not criminal charges are filed.
Texas Car Accident Attorney
There is no excuse for negligent or reckless driving. Texas Move Over Laws are clear and should always be followed. If you or a loved one has been injured due to an irresponsible driver that did not adhere to Texas laws, we can help. Contact the car accident attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. today for a free case evaluation.