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Traffic Tip: Passing authorized emergency vehicle

By By Zac De La Rosa
June 2, 2012 at 1:02 a.m.


Victoria Police Department -Weekly Traffic Law Reminder.

This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code,

Sec. 545.157. Passing authorized emergency vehicle. (a) On approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, or a stationary tow truck using equipment authorized by Section 547.305(d), an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

(1) vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or tow truck when driving on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle or tow truck; or

(2) slow to a speed not to exceed:

(A) 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or

(B) five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.

(b) A violation of this section is:

(1) a misdemeanor punishable under Section 542.401;

(2) a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 if the violation results in property damage; or

(3) a Class B misdemeanor if the violation results in bodily injury.

(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

(d) In this section, "tow truck" means a vehicle that:

(1) has been issued a permit under Subchapter C, Chapter 2308, Occupations Code; and

(2) is operated by a person licensed under Subchapter D, Chapter 2308, Occupations Code.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 327, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 229, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2011.

Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?

Emergency vehicles are often stopped in the roadway for traffic stops, traffic accidents, or roadway hazards. It is important for drivers to be cognizant that the officers or fire department personnel may be outside of their vehicles and thus vulnerable to normal vehicular traffic. Curious drivers who drive too close to crash scenes to get a good look, can pose a danger to personnel working at the scene and to themselves if they are not paying attention to the road. Drivers should move into the lane farthest away from the emergency vehicles and slow down. Emergency personnel may need to be focused on the safety of those involved in an accident and should not have to worry about being struck by a speeding passerby. This law also applies to wrecker trucks when their flashing lights are activated.

These laws are set in place to protect our officers, firefighters, paramedics, and you the citizen. Please do your part, pull to the side and slow down.

The Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit reminds you to drive safe. The life you save may be your own.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Senior Patrol Officer Zac De La Rosa, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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