New Law Requires Motorist To: “Move Over/Slow Down”
As many of you may already know, September 1st marked an effective date for many of our state’s new laws. One new law which took effect at the beginning of this month is a change to how motorists operate their vehicles near and around Texas Department of Transportation’s vehicles which are stopped on the side of the road. Some of you may have already noticed bill boards notifying the public of this new change in law.
For a number of years, Texas law has required that motorists either slow down or change lanes when passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using visual signals or a stationary tow truck using their equipment. With the recent change in Texas law, that list will now include a Texas Department of Transportation vehicle which is not separated from the roadway by a traffic control channelizing device and is using visual signals. The new statute defines a traffic control channelizing device as equipment used to warn and alert drivers of conditions created by work activities in or near the traveled way, to protect workers in a temporary traffic control zone, and to guide drivers and pedestrians safely. The term includes a traffic cone, tubular marker, vertical panel, drum, barricade, temporary raised island, concrete or cable barrier, guardrail, or channelizer.
In order for the motorist to be in compliance with the new law, the motorist will be required to either vacate the lane closest to the vehicle if traveling on a highway with two or more lanes; or reduce the motorist speed to twenty miles an hour below the posted speed limit or to five miles an hour when the posted speed limit is twenty-five miles an hour or below.
It is important to note that those found guilty of violating the new law could be subject to hefty fines. According to the Executive Director of the Department of Transportation, more than 100 TxDOT employees have been struck and killed by motorists since 1938. The Executive Director also stated that “we are hopeful that this new protection for our crews will lead to fewer preventable deaths and injuries.”
TEXAS ARMED SERVICES SCHOLARSHIP
My office is accepting scholarship applications from students who reside in House District 32. Each state representative has been asked to nominate one student to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is responsible for overseeing the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program.
In order to be considered for the Texas Armed Services Scholarship, a student must meet two of the following four academic criteria at the time of the application:
• Graduate or have graduated high school with the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP) or the International Baccalaureate Program (IB);
• Have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
• Achieve a college readiness score on the SAT (1590) or ACT (23);
• Ranked in the top third of their graduating class.
This is an exciting opportunity for any student seeking to enter the armed forces by way of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at a civilian college. If you are a student who would like to be nominated for this scholarship program, please submit a cover letter along with proof that you have met the required academic criteria to either my Capitol office in Austin or my District office in Corpus Christi.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part). He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 512-463-0672.