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Stricter Penalties for Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicles Implemented in Texas

In a significant move aimed at enhancing road safety, Texas has introduced stricter penalties for motorists who fail to yield to emergency vehicles. This change is part of a comprehensive set of nearly 800 new laws that took effect in the state on Friday.

Under the newly amended ‘Move Over/Slow Down’ law, drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle must either change lanes or reduce their speed by 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in substantial fines and potential legal consequences.

For a first offense, individuals may face fines ranging from $500 to $1,250. If the violation results in harm to others, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $400 fine.

Repeat offenders will experience increased financial penalties, with fines escalating to a range of $1,000 to $2,000. Inflicting bodily harm during a violation elevates the offense to a felony, punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Prior to the recent legislative changes, violators were subject to fines up to $200 for a first offense and up to $2,000 in cases where a collision resulted in injuries.

The ‘Move Over, Slow Down’ law, originally enacted in 2003, mandates that drivers pull over and reduce their speed when passing emergency vehicles and tow trucks parked on the side of the road. The revisions aim to reinforce compliance with these safety measures and underscore the state’s commitment to protecting the well-being of both motorists and emergency personnel.