Imagine if your workplace required you to do your job as traffic whizzed by you at speeds from 55-70 miles per hour!  

That’s what it’s like for road crews from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) as they work to keep our highways maintained and safe.  

As of Sept. 1, Texas will have a “Move Over or Slow Down” law that not only protects emergency vehicles and tow trucks but also makes it safer for TxDOT road crews.  

Since 1938, 103 TxDOT employees have been struck and killed by motorists.

The law was first passed in 2003 and applied to police, fire, and emergency medical service vehicles.  

In 2011, tow trucks were added.  

Now in 2013, TxDOT vehicles have been added.  The law requires motorists to move over to the next lane or reduce their speed to 20 miles below the posted limit.

Key points of the new law are:

• Drivers who are approaching a stopped TxDOT vehicle with activated flashing blue or amber lights have two choices. The best choice is to change lanes and move out of the lane closest to the TxDOT vehicle. If it isn’t possible to safely change lanes, you must reduce your speed to 20 miles an hour below the posted limit. On roadways with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour.

• The law does not apply to construction and maintenance vehicles that are separated from the roadway by a construction zone marked with traffic control devices such as barricades, construction barrels, cable or concrete barriers, or guardrails.

• Violators can receive a ticket with a fine of up to $500. If there is a crash that causes injury to a worker, violators can be fined up to $2,000.

For your sake and the sake of the employees, plan to move over or slow down to help protect TxDOT roadside workers as well as emergency responders, and help to reduce the number of preventable crashes, fatalities, and injuries.

Rita Hodges is the Ellis  County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Contact Rita at 972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu