A driver was injured after he crashed into a Houston Fire Department truck. The accident occurred in northeast Houston near Little York and Maple Leaf roads at Fire Station 56. According to a report by the HFD District Chief, the fire truck had returned to the station and was backing in when the speeding vehicle crashed right into it. The pumper truck had its lights flashing at the time of the incident.
The accident occurred at about 3 a.m. and the driver was speeding when he attempted to go around the truck. Several firefighters witnessed the accident. They stated that the red light was flashing but the driver did not even attempt to stop and that they witnessed no indication of brake lights. The vehicle, a black Chevy Impala, ended up driving under the truck and the driver of the car was pinned into the crushed vehicle.
Firefighters used special tools to extricate the man, whose leg was trapped in the wreckage. The driver was transported to the hospital and was later suspected to have been intoxicated. One firefighter was injured in the crash and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Move Over/ Slow Down Law
Texas, like many states, has a law in place that is designed to ensure the safety of emergency vehicles on the roadways. The Move Over Slow Down law specifically states that drivers must move over or slow down when there is an emergency vehicle on the road with its lights flashing. Emergency vehicles include police, fire, EMS, tow trucks, and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles. Drivers must move out of the lane that is immediately adjacent to the stopped vehicle in cases in which you are traveling in the same direction as the emergency vehicle.
If that situation does not apply, drivers must slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit of the road. When the speed limit on the road is less than 25 mph, drivers must slow down to 5 mph. That clearly did not happen in this particular situation. The driver did not slow, did not obey traffic signals, and tried to swerve to get around the truck at the last second.
Information released by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows that in 2017 alone, more than 10,650 warnings were issued to drivers for failure to comply with the move over law. Because of the volume of crashes that have resulted from the violation of this law, police are now going to issue citations rather than warnings. Those who violate the law will pay a fine of $200. If there was property damage as a result of the violation, the fine increases to $500. If there is bodily injury, the driver could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in a jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,000.
The failure to slow down or move over could endanger other drivers on the road. If you were hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to damages from the negligent driver. Contact our experienced attorneys for auto accidents at the Baumgartner Law Firm today for a free case consultation.
Texas Department of Public Safety
Move Over Slow Down https://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/move-over-slow-down.html
Texas Transportation Code http://www.dps.texas.gov/docs/txTranspCode545157.pdf