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Texas Move-Over Law: Keeping Tow Truck Operators Safe

For Titan Towing drivers, safety is the highest priority as they work in precarious situations to move vehicles out of traffic on busy Dallas-Fort Worth freeways. The tow truck operators depend on other drivers to follow laws that keep them, and other motorists, safe.

Unfortunately, last May, an individual who was not adhering to the Texas Move-Over Law, struck a Titan Towing truck as he was working a wreck on a DFW highway. The individual was on her cell phone, making a payment with her debit card, while she was driving. Fortunately, everyone was okay but many times this is not the case.

The Move-Over Law was implemented in Texas in 2003 and initially referred to emergency vehicles only. The law required drivers in the right hand lane, who came upon emergency vehicles parked on the shoulder of the right lane, to slow down to twenty miles per hour (or five miles per hour if the speed limit was under twenty-five) and move over to the next lane to the left if possible.

In 2011, that law was amended to include tow truck operators.

In a Texas Department of Public Safety news release from June 2012, DPS Director, Steven McCraw stated:

“This law is about providing extra protection for those individuals on the side of the road doing their jobs, as well as the people on the roadside with them. Thanks to this new provision, tow truck drivers, who are usually helping motorists in distress, now have additional protection under the law so they can do their jobs in a safer environment.”

Penalties for not following the Move-Over Law could result in fines up to $200 and the punishment is more severe if there is property damage. Jail time is also possible if someone is injured.

The law was amended once again in 2013 to include Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) workers.

In 2014, DPS issued over 17,000 warnings and citations in relation to the Move-Over Law. Many people are not aware of the law, were distracted and not observing the law, or were simply ignoring the law.

Distracted drivers like the one who struck the Titan Towing truck last spring are all too common in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and across the nation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.”

It seems like common sense to not be “doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving”, yet thousands of people a day talk, text, eat, read, and even brush their teeth while operating a motor vehicle putting themselves and others in potentially dangerous situations. Adhering to a law, such as the Texas Move-Over Law, enacted to keep yourself and others safe on the road, should be a top priority. Doing otherwise may result in a citation, having your vehicle towed, or a much more serious situation.

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