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Old 02-25-2004, 11:12 AM   #1
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Warning: Texas Law

For anyone who is going to be towing in Texas, the grace period on the law that went into effect 9/1/03 has expired.

The law requires you to shift lanes on multi-lane highways or, if not possible to shift lanes, slow to 20 mph below the speed limit when passing a police or emergency vehicle with lights flashing.

They are getting very serious about this. I passed a trap the other night where there was a simulated emergency with 4 DPS cars on the ready to nab anyone that didn't comply. Fines start at $200, $500 if property damage, and $1500 and/or 180 days in jail if someone gets hurt.

Some other states have similar laws.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:34 AM   #2
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Ohio has a similar law, and I know someone (not me or mine fortunately) who was ticketed for only moving over far enough to straddle the line between the right lane and the next lane, and didn't slow down.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up John.
I've been back in Texas now for a while and I had no idea of such a law. How do the lawmakers think all will be aware of it I wonder. Guess they figure you'll find out when you pay the fine.

I remember when Texas truck speed limits were 5-10 mph lower than the auto traffic. Made sense to me. Now due to "pressure"($) from the trucking lobby the politicians have let the big rigs run the same speed. Ever tried to get away from or around one of them? Either you surrender and run 65 or you run 85 to clear them and that's only for a few minutes fore their back on you like stink on ....well....one of those politicians.


Of course I do not take a newspaper nor watch much local (or any) TV. just peel vulkem and post hokum these nites.

BTW are we still sending our fines to Austin .....or is it to MexicoCity yet?
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:45 AM   #4
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That's a great thing to remember to do in all states, regardless of whether or not it's a law.

I've seen it on RealTV many times - clips from dash-mounted police cameras showing cars hitting pulled-over vehicles, sometimes just clipping off people's mirrors. Something about those cop car lights I guess... pulls people in like mosquitos to a bug light.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:41 PM   #5
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You are right about that. Car ect. tends to go where you are looking and lights and related events are hard to look at.
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Old 02-25-2004, 01:12 PM   #6
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2 cents worth

Most states have some variation of this law, but prosecution is not as active or as severe.= in my experience, limited as it is to the south.

Now for that 2 cents worth, be the best person you can be in these suituations and that will be a reward beyond your actions....soap box closed.

Thank you.....jem
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Old 02-25-2004, 02:47 PM   #7
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Re: Warning: Texas Law

Quote:
Originally posted by Pahaska
For anyone who is going to be towing in Texas, the grace period on the law that went into effect 9/1/03 has expired.

The law requires you to shift lanes on multi-lane highways or, if not possible to shift lanes, slow to 20 mph below the speed limit when passing a police or emergency vehicle with lights flashing.

They are getting very serious about this. I passed a trap the other night where there was a simulated emergency with 4 DPS cars on the ready to nab anyone that didn't comply. Fines start at $200, $500 if property damage, and $1500 and/or 180 days in jail if someone gets hurt.

Some other states have similar laws.
John...

I'd be calling the Texas Governor's office to raise hell! Doesn't Texas DPS have anything better to do with their time than to 'simulate' an emergency to catch move-over violators who are otherwise minding their own business? Geez! Aren't there any 'REAL' emergencies in Texas that they ought to be legitimately dealing with? What a waste of taxpayers' money!

More importantly, depending on how that law is written, I'm not entirely sure that it was violated if DPS wasn't operating in the due course of their duties; in other words, if they only had the lights going to see who wasn't going to move over, I'm not sure that there was an exigency that made it NECESSARY for traffic to move in accordance with the statute... Hmmmm....

Roger
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Old 02-25-2004, 03:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'd be calling the Texas Governor's office to raise hell! Doesn't Texas DPS have anything better to do with their time than to 'simulate' an emergency to catch move-over violators who are otherwise minding their own business? Geez! Aren't there any 'REAL' emergencies in Texas that they ought to be legitimately dealing with? What a waste of taxpayers' money!
I dissagree Roger, The state, not just Texas is in the business of gathering revenue so in order to gauther the most with the least effort they go after the easy picking. Speeding, etc
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:44 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Royce


I dissagree Roger, The state, not just Texas is in the business of gathering revenue so in order to gauther the most with the least effort they go after the easy picking. Speeding, etc
The legislative intent of the "move-over" laws was to increase a margin of safety for officers who are out in traffic doing their jobs. These laws are promoted by law-enforcement associations, and as a police chief, I support them as well.

Although government derives a certain amount of revenue from fines, philosophically those revenues should never be counted on as 'income' for government. The purpose of traffic laws is safety, not revenue generation.

The subject of traffic fines as revenue comes up regularly, and my perspective is that I'll do whatever our elected officials tell me to do; but they need to understand that every citation my officers would issue under that kind of directive would be with the admonition that the citation was being issued as a revenue generator and that the person cited was welcomed to call their elected official at home to discuss their policy.

Unfortunately, this issue comes up frequently enough to cause the general population to assume that law-enforcement does things to generate revenue. That's unfortunate as it truly happens very seldom, and if it is, is never initiated by law enforcement ourselves.

More frequently though, we as law enforcement lose sight of why we're doing what we do. That's when citizens need to bring us back to performing our appropriate role in society.

Roger
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Old 02-25-2004, 09:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by 85MH325
The purpose of traffic laws is safety, not revenue generation.
Roger
I agree with the law we're discussing, and it's enforcement -- it's just common sense! However, your statement that I've quoted, Roger, in my opinion isn't quite the whole truth. I don't mean to be argumentative here.

Obviously course traffic laws are designed, first and foremost, to keep us safe... and they succeed! But there's the issue of quotas. Clearly they exist, as there'd be no other reason for the exponential increase of speed traps around town during the final days of each month.

The reason behind their creation can be debated, but I believe revenue generation is a big part of it. I have no problem with speeders paying policemen's salaries, but we shouldn't pretend money isn't one of the primary goals behind quotas. Police departments have denied they exist for years, and it's silly - we're adults, and we can handle the truth. We're not talking about UFO's, just that police get in trouble if they haven't caught enough people each month!
Brad
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Old 02-25-2004, 09:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by bredlo


I agree with the law we're discussing, and it's enforcement -- it's just common sense! However, your statement that I've quoted, Roger, in my opinion isn't quite the whole truth. I don't mean to be argumentative here.

Obviously course traffic laws are designed, first and foremost, to keep us safe... and they succeed! But there's the issue of quotas. Clearly they exist, as there'd be no other reason for the exponential increase of speed traps around town during the final days of each month.

The reason behind their creation can be debated, but I believe revenue generation is a big part of it. I have no problem with speeders paying policemen's salaries, but we shouldn't pretend money isn't one of the primary goals behind quotas. Police departments have denied they exist for years, and it's silly - we're adults, and we can handle the truth. We're not talking about UFO's, just that police get in trouble if they haven't caught enough people each month!
Brad
Hmmm... where do I start? I have been Chief in two departments. I also worked for a major city in SoCal in my formative years, and a Sheriff's Office in NoCal for a number of years. In the four departments I've worked for in nearly 30 years, I can honestly tell you that there is/was no "quota". There are, of course, standards of performance... we want our cops out working, NOT sitting in the donut shops! <snicker> How best to determine what they're doing? Direct supervision is best, but nearly impossible. The next best thing is by looking at 'widget' production. What's a 'widget'? In the SoCal departmetnt, the defacto standard was that you needed one 'widget' an hour to keep your sergeant off your case. That 'widget' could be a cite, parking cite, citizen contact, crime investigation, field interview, building check or whatever; in other words something that showed you weren't parked sleeping in a garage somewhere.

Traffic laws are truly written and enforced for the safety of the public. That's the reason they should be enforced as well. If you think it's other than that in your city/county, I'd suggest you call your elected representatives and find out why! (Tell 'em Roger sent you!)

Now... for what it's worth, if I write two more tickets before the end of the week, I can redeem them at the ticket quota redemption store for a new toaster oven!!!!

Roger
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:05 PM   #12
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if you write two more tickets before the end of the week you will probably need a fresh book..... heh...heh...
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:58 PM   #13
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i didn't start this thread because I disagreed with the law. it is a good law and something I pretty much did all along without thinking much about it.

The end of the warning period was on the front page of the paper on 2/17. My guess that the operation I mentioned was to gage the level of adherence to the new law; they could have been giving warnings for all I know. I moved over and all traffic within view was moving over, so I never saw a stopped car, just the gaggle of troopers.

The paper remarked that one thing the law doesn't address is what you do if in the curb lane on a 4-lane and traffic doesn't allow you to move over; that's pretty common situation with a trailer. My take is that I would slow to 20 under the limit in that case.

The law is also not clear on what you should do if the stopped cars aren't right by the edge of the road. There are many places that the width of a full traffic land might be betwee the traffic lanes and the stopped vehicles.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:57 PM   #14
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I encountered that exact situation this afternoon on the way to work. The driver of the truck in the R lane in front of me had no where to go. But I agree with John it's a commonsense thing, I've been doing that always when possible.
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