Texas Move Over or Slow Down law now includes utility vehicles

September 26, 2019

As of September 1, Texas motorists are required to move over and slow down for utility service vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road restoring power or performing other work. The Move Over or 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. 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 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 or Slow Down laws, Texas now joins 18 other states who have passed laws to protect utility workers.

Additionally, transportation incidents are the leading cause of death at work, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. More than 2,000 people were killed in work-related transportation incidents in 2016-2017.

Austin Energy Occupational Health & Safety Coordinator Chuck Hendry said that including utility workers and vehicles is a big step in keeping workers safe while on the job.

"We want all Austin Energy employees to return safely to their families every day," said Hendry. "Including utility workers in the Move Over law will help ensure the safety of utility employees as they work along roadways to restore power."

About Move Over or Slow Down
Move Over or 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.

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