AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Highway Enforcement Command of the Austin police will conduct an operation Wednesday to enforce the Texas Move Over law which requires drivers to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles.
APD says 18 officers will be conducting this operation within the Austin city limits and will focus on drivers not moving over for tow trucks on the side of the highway.
According to data from AAA, one tow truck driver is hit and killed on the side of the highway every six days. The law in Texas states that drivers must move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or at least slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit.
An amendment to the Transportation Code in 2013 added tow trucks to a list of emergency vehicles. Austin police said this operation is the first in a series to educate the public on the law, specifically the inclusion of tow trucks.
Research from the National Institute of Justice says 554 peace officers were killed in traffic events between 2008 and 2017. This number makes up 40 percent of total officer fatalities.
A number of emergency officials have been hit in Central Texas over the past year. On May 21, a San Marcos officer was hit while responding to a call about debris in the road and lost her leg as a result. Last year, a Round Rock police officer died after being hit while directing traffic around a collision.