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New law aims to keep TXDOT workers safe

Updated: Wednesday, September 4 2013, 12:39 PM MDT
New law aims to keep TXDOT workers safe story image

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- Starting Sept. 1, drivers across the state will be required to move over or slow down for Texas Department of Transportation workers on the side of the road. The law already requires motorists to move over or slow down when emergency vehicles are pulled over on the side of the road. This new requirement means Texas drivers will have to watch out for amber lights instead of just red and blue.

When the law goes into effect, drivers will be required to move out of the lane closest to TXDOT construction. If it is not possible to move, you have to slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

"It does not apply to construction workers that are behind the concrete barriers because they're already protected. It's those vehicles that are parked on the side," TXDOT Public Information Officer Blanca Del Valle said. Del Valle also said the law is designed to keep workers as safe as possible because TXDOT has seen 103 employee deaths on the job since 1938.

"Drivers [who don't follow the law] could face up to a $500 fine plus any legal fees involved," Del Valle said.

The new law also comes after two recent deadly accidents in El Paso. As KFOX14 previously reported, a TXDOT employee died in a hit-and-run accident in June. A TXDOT subcontractor also died in another hit-and-run accident in January.

"This is a person working like you and I. When you see the vehicle, we're asking everyone to please safely move to the next lane. We know there's traffic. If not, slow down," Del Valle said.
Because TXDOT workers have a more dangerous office than most, drivers KFOX14 spoke with said this law should have been in effect a long time ago.

"It's kind of common sense that you should slow down if they're in the road and get over into another lane. It's pretty much common sense," East El Paso resident Lauren Edmundson said.

New law aims to keep TXDOT workers safe
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