New Law in Texas About What To Do if Police or Fire Vehicles Are Coming Down the Road-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
The email warns that there is a new law in Texas that gives new instruction about what to do when you see a police or fire vehicle with flashing lights.
We don’t know if this particular story of a motorist’s experience is true but the warning about a new Texas law is true.
It’s called the “Move Over” act (SB 193 78).
It was signed by the governor on 6/18/03 and went into effect on 9/1/03.
The exact wording of the bill says it “requires a vehicle operator approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using flashing lights, on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest to the emergency situation or slow to 20 mph below the speed limit or 5 mph when the posted limit is less than 25 mph.”
Last updated 1/15/04
Subject: New Traffic law
Let my misfortune be a lesson for you. This is a long story, but a must read. This really happened to me on 12/10/03.
Yesterday, I was driving into town along the Southwest Freeway around 12:30 PM. I was in the far left lane doing the posted speed limit of 65 and going with the flow of traffic. When I got over the Bissonnett/Braeswood overpass, there was an HPD squad car parked on the left shoulder with the officer standing out in front of his vehicle pointing his radar gun at oncoming cars. Your inclination automatically tells you to slow down, whether you were speeding or not.
Not a 1/2 mile down the freeway, there was another HPD officer that had someone pulled over on the left shoulder giving the person a ticket. I thought, man this was an obvious speed trap and kept on going. I had slowed down to around 60 at that point as now the posted speed limit was 60.
About a mile up the road, around Gessner, another HPD officer had someone else pulled over to give them a ticket and literally in front
of that traffic stop was another HPD officer (yes we are up to 4 cop cars now in just over a mile) walking around to the front of his car.
Just as I was approaching him, he pointed his radar gun at me and signaled for me to pull over. I was shocked, because I know that I
was going the posted speed limit (60) as I immediately looked at my speedometer.
The officer came to my window and said “do you know how fast you were going?” I said yes, I was going 60. He said “you were
doing 58″ and he showed me his radar gun, which read 58. I said okay. He said “you failed to slow your speed down by 20 MPH or move
over to the adjacent lane when an emergency vehicle was stopped in the flow of traffic.” I said, I did not know that was a law (of course
that is never a defense) and he said it was and asked for my license. I offered that and my concealed handgun license to him (as I am
required by law, being a CHL carrier), as well as the knowledge that I was carrying my pistol under the rear passenger seat. The officer
wrote me a ticket that carries a $200 maximum fine for this infraction.
Come to find out, this is a new state law as of September 1, 2003. From the TX DPS website http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_information/pr081903b.htm , the law reads:
SB 193 requires drivers nearing a stopped emergency vehicle that has lights activated, unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, to: Vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, if the highway has two or more lanes traveling the direction of the emergency vehicle; or Slow to a speed not more than 20 miles per hour (mph) less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or more; or Slow to a speed not more than five mph when the posted speed limit is less than 25.
A violation is a punishable by a maximum fine of $200. If the violation results in property damage, the maximum fine increases to $500. If the violation results in bodily injury, the offense is enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor.