TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A new law, if signed by the governor, will increase the criminal penalty if you do not pull over or switch lanes properly for emergency vehicles around the state.
It’s called “HB 898” and if the pen hits the paper, it’ll make the penalty more severe to not pull over or move over for emergency service vehicles coming your way.
“Law enforcement communities are begging for help now,” said Chief Eric Greaser with Smith County Emergency Services District 2.
Under the current “Move Over or Slow Down” law, the penalty violators can face is a $200 traffic ticket and can be fined up to $2,000 if they cause a wreck that injures a roadside worker or first responder.
“Just give us a break. Just give us a little bit of space,” added Greaser.
This new law would increase the fine to $500 for a first offense and $1,250 after several offenses.
It also enhances the penalty for causing an injury wreck, making it a class a misdemeanor, which can bring a sentence of up to one year in jail.
Greaser said new regulations like this are desperately needed.
“At the end of the day, what we’re looking for it compliance,” said Greaser. “It’s not about the fine. It’s about protecting our firefighters and our police officers in law enforcement and paramedics that are on the roadway that are doing the work in the business of rescuing [and] saving lives.”
Greaser also tells KETK he took a visit down to the capital to pledge full support for the potential new law because that’s how bad the issue is at the moment around East Texas.
A similar bill that is now a law called “SB 1413” was recently signed by Abbott and pushed by the Irving Fire Department gives fire personnel authority to remove personal property from roadways, which will allow emergency responders to get off dangerous roadways in a safer manner.