'Move Over/Slow Down' law now includes utility vehicles

(Rudy Koski)

Drivers in Texas are now going to have to move over and slow down for utility vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road restoring power or performing other work. 

The new law went into effect Sunday, September 1.

Move Over/Slow Down require motorists traveling on multi-lane roadways to, when practical, merge away from a vehicle working on the side of the highway to provide an empty travel lane of safety for the worker. If not practical, either due to traffic volume or road design, the motorists must reduce their speed by 20 MPH on highways.

Solid waste collection vehicles, like recycling, composting and garbage trucks that are in the process of collection were also added to the law this month.

The Move Over/Slow Down law originally passed in 2003 and requires motorists to move over or slow down when emergency vehicles, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks are stopped on the side of the road with warning lights activated.

The extensive restoration work that took place after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 highlighted the safety issue for utility workers. While all 50 states have Move Over/Slow Down laws, Texas now joins 18 other states who have passed laws to protect utility workers.