Police in the city of Austin are preparing to enforce Texas’s new “Move Over” law, which is designed to force drivers to either move over one lane or slow down to 20 miles below the posted speed limit for all emergency vehicles that are on the side of the road.

The enforcement is being initiated by the Austin Police Department Highway Enforcement Command. They will be dispatching approximately 18 officers during the operation.

The enforcement will focus solely on drivers choosing to not move over for tow trucks who will have their emergency lights on while they are also on the side of the highway. According to a study from AAA, tow truck drivers are often struck and killed by other vehicles once every six days. As a result, this makes tow truck driving one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

The National Institute of Justice has also conducted research that states that a total of 554 peace officers were tragically killed in various types of traffic events between the years of 2008 and 2017, which makes up approximately 40% of the total number of officer fatalities.

Back in 2013, the Transportation Code was amended in order to include tow trucks as being classified as emergency vehicles. This officially included tow trucks as part of the “Move Over” law in Texas.

This enforcement will be the second in a series of various types of operations that are designed to help educate the general public regarding the law, as well as to help protect those individuals who currently work in the towing industry.

Earlier this month, the Austin Police Department conducted a similar enforcement effort between the hours of 8:45 am and 2:30 pm. During this operation, officers handed out approximately 238 warnings to drivers who were found to be in violation of the law, in which they drove improperly past emergency vehicles. Furthermore, police also issued the following:

  • 2 speeding citations
  • 4 warnings for other types of hazardous violations
  • 17 citations/warnings for non-hazardous conditions

The “Move Over” law was originally passed back in 2013 and is fully dubbed the “Texas Move Over Law.” The most recent enforcement from the Austin Police Department took place solely inside Austin city limits.

Additionally, those who are found to be in violation of the law and are ticketed by police will run the risk of being issued a fine of up to $2,000.

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