EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Wess Winn, community services officer and crime prevention coordinator with the Waxahachie Police Department to write a weekly column in an effort to answer many of the law enforcement-related questions posed by our readers. Here’s this week’s column:
Happy New Year.
How do I legally pass an Emergency Vehicle (EV), which is stopped on the side of the highway?
A few years back the Texas Legislature enacted Transportation code 545.157. PASSING AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE, to help keep emergency personnel safe on the roadway.
1). It tells drivers they must vacate the lane closest to the EV when traveling on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction as the EV, or, 2a). must slow to 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more, 2b). or five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.
Many drivers think all they need to do is slow down when they are on a multi lane highway, which is wrong. If you are able to change out of the lane closest to the EV then you are required to. If another vehicle has you blocked, this is when you slow down. This is a ticket we issue quite often because we are trying to keep our emergency personnel safe.
Wess Winn holds a master peace officer certification. If you have a Police Beat question for Officer Wess Winn, he may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 469-309-4410. Look for your questions to be answered here in the Waxahachie Daily Light every Sunday or listen to officer Winn’s show on KBEC Radio AM 1390 at 9 a.m. every Monday.