DPS reminds drivers of Move Over, Slow Down law following fatal crash

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- A funeral will be held Friday morning for the Falls County deputy who was killed when a car struck him along Highway 6 last Friday.

Deputy Matt Jones and another law enforcement officer were helping a driver on the side of the road south of Riesel when they were both hit by a car that hydroplaned across the highway.

After this tragedy, the Department of Public Safety wants to remind the community that when they see law enforcement on the side of the road, or driving by you, it is the law to move over and slow down. DPS says if you cannot move over, you have to slow down 20 MPH below the speed limit.

The Move Over Slow Down law went into effect in 2003. Last year, DPS says they pulled over more than 41,000 drivers statewide for not following this law. So far in 2019, they have pulled over more than 21,000.

Department of Public Safety Sergeant Jimmy Morgan says traffic stops are one of the most dangerous things a trooper does every single day.

“We are going to keep enforcing this law, keep notifying people that there is such a law, and what to do and the main things I just to make it safe for everybody involved,” said Sgt. Morgan.

Legislators recently expanded the law to also include TxDOT construction vehicles, garbage trucks, and utility trucks.

DPS says if you do not move over and slow down, you could face a fine of up to $200.

“Our Highway Patrol Troopers and other officers risk their lives every day for the people of Texas, and their safety is particularly vulnerable while working on the side of the road, where the slightest mistake by a passing motorist can end in tragedy,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “While our officers are serving and protecting Texans, we’re asking drivers to do their part by adhering to the law – simply move over or slow down.”

According to the Texas law, a driver must either:

· Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or

· Slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph)

Drivers should only move over if they can do so safely and legally; otherwise, they should slow down.