APD cracks down on violators of "move over" law

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The Austin Police Department will join police forces across Central Texas in an initiative to crack down on vehicles who fail to slow down or move out of the adjacent lane when passing stopped emergency vehicles that have their lights on.

According to an APD statement released Tuesday, Texas state law requires drivers to vacate the lane next to a stopped emergency vehicle that has its emergency lights on or reduce their speed to 20 mph under the speed limit. If the speed limit is less than 25 mph, the vehicle must slow to 5 mph.

That statement said the initiative follows an evaluation of relevant statistics demonstrating that 175 law enforcement officers nationwide were killed in the line of duty between 1999 and 2011 after being struck by a moving vehicle.

Twenty Central Texas police departments will be participating in the initiative, including the San Marcos and Georgetown police departments, according to a APD statement issued Tuesday.

“Move over” laws have been passed in 49 states, according to the statement, and can differ from state to state.