TX Governor Approves “Move Over for Tow Trucks” Law, Goes Into Effect Sept. 1

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Here’s the press release from Southwest Tow Operators:

Austin, TX…. Governor Rick Perry Signed HB 378, the Texas Move Over for Tow Trucks Bill, making it law that passing motorists must now Move Over into the next lane, or Slow Down to 20 MPH if in the lane closest to the Tow Truck. This law was pushed by the towing industry since the last legislative session in 2009, and has taken 2 very strong years of educating Texas Legislators of the dangers that Tow Operators experience on the public roadways, some having paying the ultimate sacrifice of death. Texas has ranked among the highest in the country of “Struck-Bys” and has lead the death rate in recent years.
Many families, friends, co-workers, and employers attended hearings on the Bill introduced by Representative Ryan Guillen of South Texas. He led a very strong line of supporting Legislators that helped strengthen even more support from the House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. At times, the testimony was very emotional and drew many tears from the attending audience.
HB 378 passed the House unanimously and the Senate with only 1 No vote.
The bill takes Effect September 1, 2011!
There are two issues that will be addressed in the next few months, and into the rules making process. The first deals with the Lighting Requirements for Licensed Tow Trucks. We may get a specific and new lighting requirements on tow trucks that will expectantly bring much debate and opinions. We will be looking for alot of industry input to assist with this.
The second issue is one of great importance and that is Awareness! In order for this law to be effective, all tow operators, their friends and families, and any media outlets we can get must put the word out there that this is the Law and ask for the general public and motorists to be aware of this law and respect it. Awareness starts with our industry and lives will undoubtedly count on everyone spreading the message!

Here is a copy of HB 378:

relating to stationary tow trucks on a highway; providing a penalty.

SECTION 1.Section 545.157, Transportation Code, is amended
by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (d) to read as
(a)On approaching a stationary authorized emergency
vehicle using visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections
547.305 and 547.702, or a stationary tow truck using equipment
authorized by Section 547.305(d), an operator, unless otherwise
directed by a police officer, shall:
(1)vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle
or tow truck when driving on a highway with two or more lanes
traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle or tow truck; or
(2)slow to a speed not to exceed:
(A)20 miles per hour less than the posted speed
limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or
(B)five miles per hour when the posted speed
limit is less than 25 miles per hour.
(d)In this section, “tow truck” means a vehicle that:
(1)has been issued a permit under Subchapter C,
Chapter 2308, Occupations Code; and
(2)is operated by a person licensed under Subchapter D,
Chapter 2308, Occupations Code.

SECTION 2.Section 545.301(b), Transportation Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(b)This section does not apply to an operator of:
(1)a vehicle that is disabled while on the paved or
main traveled part of a highway if it is impossible to avoid
stopping and temporarily leaving the vehicle on the highway; [or]
(2)a vehicle used exclusively to transport solid,
semisolid, or liquid waste operated at the time in connection with
the removal or transportation of solid, semisolid, or liquid waste
from a location adjacent to the highway; or
(3)a tow truck, as defined by Section 545.157(d),
that is performing towing duties under Chapter 2308, Occupations
SECTIONA3.Section 547.305(a), Transportation Code, is
amended to read as follows:
(a)A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than
a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or
emergency vehicle, tow truck, or school bus warning lamp, that
projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower
shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of
the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from
the vehicle.
SECTION 4.This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.