The 78th Texas Legislature passed the “Texas Move Over Act” which took effect Sept. 1, 2003.
The law requires drivers to yield and move out of the way of first responders as they are traveling to a scene. The law also demands drivers move out of the lane nearest to a first response vehicle or slow down.
If the option to slow down is chosen, drivers must decrease their speed 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. However, drivers are not to drop below five miles per hour.
Thursday, a Scott & White ambulance working a crash on I-35 was hit by a passing driver. Luckily, no one was hurt.
But the ambulance's right mirror was damaged.
When you see lights and hear sirens, get out of the way or slow down. It's not just a courtesy, it's the law.
"As long as you go into it with your eyes wide open and understanding, understanding the risk that you're taking, then it's very rewarding," Capt. Landy Setzer of Temple Fire & Rescue said.
Sometimes the risk overtakes the reward for first responders.
"This is a job that at some point could cause you severe injury or death, and you go into it knowing that," Capt. Setzer added.
That almost happened when a car hit an ambulance in Temple that had parked on I-35 to help with a crash Thursday.
"When you are on the interstate, there's nothing like having a car four or five feet away from you passing you going 60 miles per hour. It is an eye opener," Capt. Setzer said.
It's an eye-opener first responders should not have to experience. That's why Temple Fire and Rescue and the Bell County Sheriff's Office are begging you to obey Texas law. When driving past a vehicle parked on the side of the road, you must move over to the next lane or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.
"You can receive a pretty hefty fine for fail to compile with law. We want people to move over to give those people on the side of the road the opportunity to work safely so that they can go home at the end of the day," Lt. Donnie Adams of the Bell County Sheriff's Department said.
So, as you try to get home at the end of the day, first responders want you to remember they are too.
"We have families that we want to go home and see as well, and that's why we ask people to slow down, pay attention to what they're doing and look out for fire trucks, look out for police cars and ambulances," Capt. Setzer added.
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