Does Texas Have Move Over or Slow Down Laws for Vehicles?

February 28, 2022 | Car Accidents

Texas, along with various other states throughout the country, has a move over/slow down law in place that requires motorists to change lanes and take caution on the roadway when approaching emergency vehicles or service utility vehicles and personnel. It is important to understand how this law is worded and how it applies so that you are fully prepared on the roadway when you approach those flashing lights, as stated from our Round Rock car accident attorneys.

What are Move Over & Slow Down Laws in Texas?

Texas takes emergencies seriously, which means they take steps to protect first responders. This state has a law, commonly referred to as the move over/slow down law, that requires drivers to do the following (TTC § 545.157):

  • Exit the lane closest to the emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes going in the same direction), or
  • Slow the vehicle down to 20 mph below the applicable speed limit (if the speed limit is already below 25 mph, the driver is required to slow to 5 mph)

The original move over/slow down law in Texas passed in 2003 and only included typical first responder vehicles such as police cars, ambulances, and fire engines. However, as of September 1, 2019, the state legislature added service utility vehicles, including Texas Department of Transportation vehicles, tow trucks, power utility vehicles, garbage and recycling vehicles, and others to the list.

This law applies if the vehicles are stopped on the side of the road with their emergency and/or hazard lights activated.

Are There Penalties For Failing to Slow Down For a Vehicle in Texas?

Individuals who violate the move over/slow down law in Texas can face a fine of up to $200. However, the fine will increase to $500 if the violation of the law causes property damage. If violators of the move over/slow down law cause bodily injury, then they will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000.


How Violations of This Law Can Impact a Car Accident Claim?

Individuals in Texas regularly violate the move over/slow down law, much to the chagrin of emergency officials. Even if individuals see a violation of this law as a minor offense, these violations can lead to significant issues in the event a car accident occurs.

If a person is involved in a collision and found to be in violation of the move over/slow down law, it is very likely that they will hold liability for the incident even if, under normal circumstances, they would likely have not been responsible.

Emergency Vehicles & Slow Down Laws in Texas

Information available from AAA shows that drivers should take the following steps when they notice an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of the road:

  • Remain alert and avoid distractions in order to focus on the task of driving
  • Check your surroundings and change lanes away from the lane closest to the emergency vehicles
  • Slow the vehicle down if you cannot change lanes and make sure that you approach the scene cautiously
  • Do not try to watch the scene on the side of the road or take pictures or videos of what has occurred (no rubbernecking)

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver who violated the move over/slow down law in Texas, reach out to a car accident attorney in Austin who can examine your case and help you recover compensation for your losses.