First responders urge drivers to Slow Down or Move Over

Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:04-04

After tow truck operators, who recently lost a loved one, met with State Representative Hugh Shine last week about their campaign to raise awareness of the Slow Down or Move Over law began Thursday. 

First responders gathered alongside the I-35 and shared why the law is vital to not only their own safety but the safety of Central Texans on a daily basis. 

In the last seven months, Central Texas has experienced one too many deaths due to drivers ignoring the Slow Down or Move Over law. 

"Today, the Texas Department of Public Safety along with other agencies stand before you asking motorists to make a choice...a simple choice. A choice to either move over or slow down," Deon Cockrell with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.  

Trooper Thomas Nipper and tow operator Scott Bowles are two names who will forever be associated with the law that if obeyed could've saved their lives. 

"I think it's hard for the motorists to really understand how close they are to the shoulder of the roadway... and many years I've worked and I've stopped cars, and you're really divided by only a few inches of a white line," Cockrell added. 

But, those few inches can't protect first responders from a car speeding down the highway.

"Give us a little room to do our jobs," Bobby Whitson, a volunteer firefighter for Salado Fire and Rescue, said. 

That goes for police officers, state troopers, firefighters, ems personnel, tow truck drivers or TxDOT workers like Solomon Thomas.

"People drive through the work zones, near misses all the time," Thomas said. 

"Would you want to be the one that's sitting on the side of the road who was just involved in an accident, maybe with some severe injuries, and somebody else who's a distracted driver causes more injuries or even hurts the person that's there to help you," Byron Sedlacek with Temple EMS said. 

State Representative Hugh Shine has joined the effort in raising awareness of the Slow Down or Move Over law by sharing this message with the 149 other members of the Texas House of Representatives...

"We can try to increase the safety aspect of driving during the next 15 days of the holidays when there's an enormous amount of traffic out there for people to move over and slow down to try to protect more of our first responders across the state of Texas," Rep. Shine said. 

As a reminder, drivers are required to move a lane away from any first responder working on the side of the road or slow down 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

State troopers and local police added they will continue to enforce the Slow Down or Move Over law which could equate to a fine up to $200.

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