On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, the Austin Police Department’s Highway Enforcement Command ran a traffic initiative in the 4800 block of E. Ben White Blvd. focusing on Texas Transportation Code 545.157, also known as the “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.
The operation focused on vehicles not moving over for tow trucks which are classified as emergency vehicles. Research from AAA shows that a tow truck operator is killed once every six days, making it one of the most dangerous jobs.
The operation ran from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and utilized a highway enforcement detective along with eight officers working overtime. APD partnered with Southside Towing who donated a tow truck and an out-of-service vehicle for the operation. The goal of the operation was to bring awareness to the law and encourage compliance in the future. This was the third operation using tow trucks and only warnings were issued to driver’s violating this law. Other citations were issued for other infractions. During the initiative, officers noticed that almost all of the drivers disregarded the tow truck on the side of the road and maintained their current speed without moving over.
Results of the initiative are as follows:
Passing Authorized Emergency Vehicles – 191 warnings
Speeding Violations – 5 citations & 12 warnings
Non Hazardous Violations – 12 citations & 8 warnings
Over the next six weeks, the APD Highway Enforcement Command will run these “Move Over” tow truck initiatives every two weeks. The next initiative on August 28, 2019.