A worker was struck and killed while he was placing cones as part of a road construction project. The accident happened at the entrance of the Crosby Freeway near the 13700 block. According to reports, a driver lost control of her vehicle and hit the construction worker.
Deputies report that the woman said she thought she was having an epileptic seizure causing her to swerve off the road and hit the man. The police will investigate the crash to determine the cause.
Texas has a “move over” law in place statewide. The law requires motorists to slow down and move over when they see flashing lights from a police car, ambulance, or another emergency vehicle. Drivers must move out of the lane closest to the lane where the emergency vehicle is located. If they cannot safely move over, they must slow down to at least 20 MPH under the posted speed limit. The law went into effect in 2003.
Since then, the law was amended to include Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles. Road construction and repair vehicles are commonly seen near our roads, and workers are dangerously close to lanes of traffic. Here, the worker was placing cones, and the driver apparently did not move over as required. The law is in place to protect emergency responders and others and to ensure their safety.
Penalties are in place for those who are caught disobeying the law, and the move-over or slow-down law is no exception. Drivers who do not move over or slow down are subject to both criminal and civil penalties. A driver will be ticketed and have a fine of up to $200 for failure to move over or slow down. If there is property damage involved, the penalty will rise and could range up to $2,000.
Criminal charges are typically a Class B misdemeanor if you cause physical harm to someone due to a violation of the law. If death occurs, you could be charged with vehicular homicide.
Since the law was changed to include construction workers, police have been focusing efforts on violators of the move-over law. Enforcement helps educate drivers to make them aware of the law.
Drivers should always slow down and move to a different lane to provide a protective buffer between traffic and first responders or construction workers. Drivers should pay attention to the road and to any issues that could lie ahead of them. Distracted driving continues to be a problem that could contribute to failing to follow the law.
Here, we do not know what caused the driver to become distracted; however, the result was the unnecessary death of a construction employee.
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