Today, Wednesday, September 11, 2019, the Austin Police Department’s (APD) Highway Enforcement Command ran a traffic initiative focusing on Texas Transportation Code 545.157, also known as the Texas Move Over Law. The law states that vehicles must either move over a lane or slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit if they pass an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated. Today’s operation focused on vehicles not moving over for tow trucks. Research from AAA shows that a tow truck operator is killed once every six days, making it an extremely dangerous job.
APD ran the operation from 8:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. and utilized a highway enforcement detective and 10 officers working overtime. The location used was the 4800 block of E. Ben White eastbound. Southside Towing donated a tow truck and an out-of-service vehicle to partner with the department on the operation. The goal was to bring awareness to the law and to encourage compliance in the future. This was the fifth operation using tow trucks and only warnings were issued to drivers violating this law. Citations were issued for other infractions.
Results of the initiative are as follows:
Passing Authorized Emergency Vehicles – 237 warnings
Hazardous Violations – 15 citations & 19 warnings
Non-Hazardous Violations – 6 citations
The last operation involving tow trucks is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25, 2019.