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TxDOT now covered by state Move Over/Slow Down law

By Bianca Montes
Aug. 11, 2013 at 3:11 a.m.
Updated Aug. 12, 2013 at 3:12 a.m.


Violations

Last year, the Department of Public Safety issued more than 17,000 warnings and citations for violators of the Move Over/Slow Down law.

Drivers will have to move over or slow down when approaching Texas Department of Transportation workers stopped with overhead lights flashing blue or amber.

The Legislature expanded the state's Move Over/Slow Down law to include TxDOT employees, effective Sept. 1.

"We are very pleased the Legislature recognizes the dangers our employees face each day while working to maintain and build the state's vast highway network," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT's executive director. "We are hopeful that this new protection for our crews will lead to fewer preventable deaths and injuries."

Since 1938, more than 100 TxDOT employees working in a construction area have been struck and killed by motorists, according to data collected by the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Reports.

More than 12,000 on-system crashes and 4,288 off-system crashes occurred in a work zone in 2012, according to the data.

The law passed Sept. 1, 2003, in the Texas Legislature traditionally required drivers to yield to police, fire and emergency personnel and vehicles.

During the 2011 legislative session, tow trucks were added to the existing law.

Under the law, drivers are required to move over to the next lane or reduce their speed by 20 mph when they spot transportation vehicles flashing their emergency lights.

Drivers could be fined if they fail to comply. That fine would double if the violation occurs in a work zone. Violators can be fined up to $2,000.

"We are working constantly to increase safety for our workers and the traveling public," said Marc Cross, TxDOT's Yoakum spokesman. "People move swiftly through work zones and may not always adjust their speed. These are the types of things our construction workers encounter throughout the day."

The amended law does not cover contract construction workers, Marc said.

The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 8,000 miles of road and employs more than 11,000 people.

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