ASK A COP — Should we slow down, move over for TxDOT vehicles?

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, November 8, 2022

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Terry from Nederland asks: I am aware of the four vehicles that stopped with emergency equipment activated that we should slow down or move over for on the roads in Texas. They are police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulance and TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) trucks. When did this law take effect? Let’s say there is a construction zone but no workers are present and the TxDOT trucks are on or a police vehicle just sitting in the road with its lights flashing like I often see. Are we supposed to slow down or move over for these vehicles that are just parked with their lights lights on?

Answer: The simplest answer is “YES,” but I absolutely need to provide an explanation. You stated there are four vehicles, and you left one out because there a five vehicles in Texas that motorists must slow down or move over for. They are police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulance, TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) and tow trucks! If these listed vehicles have their lights on parked on side of the road, please trust me, it’s for a reason and the reason is to get other vehicles to pay attention and SLOW down! The move over and slow down law in effect in Texas says ALL motorists must move over one lane or slow down 20 mph below the posted speed limit when passing next to a stopped emergency vehicle. If any of the previously listed vehicles are stopped with lights activated, it doesn’t matter if you see the policeman, fireman, EMT, TxDOT worker or tow driver. It’s the vehicle that puts the law into effect, NOT the people! This law is near and dear to me because I experience on a daily basis motorist negligence behind the wheel when passing emergency workers on the road, which makes it a very dangerous job to perform!

Todd from Port Arthur asks: Lets say I’m traveling on a two-lane road (one lane going each direction) where the speed limit is 70 mph and the vehicle in front of you is traveling 60 mph. Would it be legal or illegal if I accelerated momentary above the speed limit with enough clearance to safely change lanes to any oncoming vehicle? Is this behavior considered “OK” in Texas or would I be breaking the law?

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Answer: Speeding is one of the most common crimes that most drivers commit, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Simply put, “Speed Kills! ” As license drivers of motor vehicles, we SHOULD all be AWARE of the SPEED of the vehicles we are in control of at all times. Our vehicles will only do what we command it to do. Remembering last week’s answer from the Texas Transportation Code 545.351, that states “An operator may NOT” drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.” This is a wonderful question because I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard the excuse “I was just passing someone.” My rule of thumb is “if I’m passing other vehicles on the road way, I need to check my speed. Because one of two things will be for sure, either they are driving way under the speed limit or I’m driving over the posted limit. If you decide to pass a vehicle you are allowed to pass within the maximum posted speed limit. So if the vehicle in front of you is going 60 mph and the speed limit is 70 mph, you don’t have to feel like a turtle on the road. Because state law still allows you in this situation to still go up to 10 mph faster than the vehicle you are passing or 70 mph and be within the legal limits of the law. I’m not certain your age, but those of us who been on this earth a few days can remember when the maximum posted speed on our highway was 55. The slogan then was “55 and stay alive.” Today 55mph on our highways is a JOKE. Many drivers feel they will get run over if they drive slow, so they just join the crowd and SPEED! We all know we can’t control another driver. Its’ a full time job keeping our driving behavior is check.

John from Port Arthur asks: You have written that a child should be 8 years old or 4’9″ tall to be exempt from booster seas in Texas. Not many 8 year olds are that tall. Even so, should it he 8 years old and 4’9″ tall? My granddaughter is taller than most girls in her call at school (age 8-1/2) but is only 4’5.” Can she sit without a booster based on what you have put in your column. Help me settle my nerves.

Answer: The state of Texas joined the ranks with the national standard requiring that a child be EITHER 8 years of age or 4 feet 9 inches tall before they can sit in a motor vehicle WITHOUT a booster seat. You are correct that height is a tall standard rarely will you find a child under 8 years old, 4 feet 9 inches tall. The only person with a child under 8 that’s taller than 4 feet 9 inches would be Shaq (smile)! Your granddaughter is 8 1/2 years old so she is NOT required to sit in a booster seat by her age. No telling ma’am. Keep in mind if you as a parent or guardian have the last say when the child comes out of the booster seat after they are 8 years of age. If the seat belt doesn’t fit them correctly because of their statue, it’s all about their safety not fashion or peers. Keep in mind if the child’s NOT secured correctly in the restraint system, they are NOT in a seat at all.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW: Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1-3 p.m. and beyond. Listen as we discuss in detail “Ask A Cop.” You can tune in at Call in your question live at 409-982-0247. Make a comment or question via TEXT at 409-748-6106. Email or call 409-983-8673 and leave a voice mail. Mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you see me in public, feel free to “Ask A Cop!”