Starting Sept. 1, under an expansion of Texas’ Move Over/Slow Down law, utility vehicles now enjoy the same protections as police, fire, and emergency vehicles.
“We are very pleased the Legislature values the safety of our employees who work hard in the field to maintain our infrastructure,” said Julie C. Parsley, CEO of Pedernales Electric Cooperative. “It is important our workers be afforded the same protections other first responders are given in times of emergency, and we encourage all motorists to show the same courtesy to anyone stopped along our roadways.”
Under the expanded law, drivers must move out of the lane closest to the utility vehicle when possible, or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. This includes moving over or slowing down when approaching vehicles that are stopped with overhead flashing amber or a combination of amber and blue lights. On roadways with posted speed limits of less than 25 miles per hour, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour.
“Keeping our crews safe on the job so they can go home to their families is our top priority,” said PEC’s Director of Security and Fleet, Cody Moos. “This revised statute gives law enforcement the tools necessary to help protect our employees, and we hope it raises awareness of the changes that help save lives.”
PEC vehicles are already equipped with amber-colored lights – as required under the expanded law. During the legislative process, PEC worked closely with the Legislature and TxDOT to ensure the revised language included equipment already used by PEC and most Texas utilities.
Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to $200; the fine increases to $500 if there is property damage. If violators cause bodily injury, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in possible jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Visit TxDOT for more information.