Emergency Responder Accidents
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What should I do when passing by a stopped emergency responder vehicle?
A Dallas fire truck was recently hit by a big rig while responding to an emergency. Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to an accident on I-30 near Ferguson Road in the early morning hours. While attending to the emergency, a big rig truck hit the fire truck. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. This Texas crash illustrates the immense dangers faced by emergency responders and the importance of moving over or slowing down when drivers pass by an accident.
Move Over or Slow Down
Emergency responders provide vital assistance to individuals involved in all manner of accidents across the nation. When responding to a car accident or other roadside emergency, police, fire workers, tow truck operators, and other emergency responders place themselves in danger. Drivers passing by the scene of the accident often become distracted and could hit emergency responders, compounding the accident even further.
To protect police, fire, and emergency vehicles, Texas passed a law known as the “Move Over/Slow Down” law. It requires that drivers either move over or slow down when passing an emergency vehicle. The law was further expanded in 2013 to include Texas Department of Transportation workers.
Under the law, Texas drivers must either move into another lane if traveling on a multiple lane road or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit if they are passing a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights activated. Failure to abide by the law can result in a fine of up to $200. If the violation injures property, the fine increases to $500. If someone is injured due to your failure to move over or slow down, it will be a Class B misdemeanor offense.
Despite the existence of the Move Over law in Texas and similar laws elsewhere across the country, American drivers are often unsure of what they should do when they approach a stopped emergency vehicle. Drivers are urged to be on the lookout for emergency responders and take action if they see a vehicle approaching. Always remember that emergency vehicles have the right of way. Emergency vehicles may need to make sudden turns or drive on the wrong side of the road to assist others. Help to keep emergency responders safe by moving out of their way whenever possible.