Bill Threatens Fine For Not Slowing Down For Tow Trucks

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Drivers could face new penalties for passing tow trucks on the highways if they don’t slow down or change lanes under a new bill passed in the state House.

It’s the law to already do that for police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

“Freeways are pretty much the most dangerous,” said Jody Sebastian with Cowboy Towing in Arlington. “I’ve had close calls where I’m jumping on the bed of the truck or getting behind guard rails.”

He thinks the bill, HB378, is long overdue.

The State House passed it Wednesday. Drivers will face a steep fine if they don’t clear the way for a wrecker if the bill is passed out of the Senate.

“No one sees us as a first responder, they only see us as repo guys out there to steal cars,” Sebastian said. “We are out there to service the public, clean-up the streets and keep the motorist moving.”

The two trucks would have to have their emergency lights flashing.

“I think it’s a joke, it’s not an emergency vehicle,” said driver Frank Randolph.

While Trine Brown said, “I guess I would move over.”

Others worry about bandit towers lurking on the highways and racing to a scene, trying to get there first for the tow.

Sam Gonzalez wonders if he has to slow down or move over for every one of those tow trucks.

“Anyone with a flashing light on the side of the road will have to,” Sebastian said.

Drivers who violate the law could face a fine of up to $200.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Laura Chambers says:

    Common courtesy to move or slow down for ANYONE who is on the side of the road. Emergency lights or not.

  2. Vanessa says:

    It shouldn’t take a flashing light or a law to get people to have common courtesy.I always do my best to move over or slow down for anyone on the side of the road. If it’s a two lane road, I at least pull as far over in my lane as possible. I’ve known a couple of people who were hit while changing tires or being stopped for some reason or another, and I would hate being responsible for injuring another person because I was too selfish to change lanes.
    .

  3. R. Goldsmith says:

    Would someone please define “slow down” for me in the legal sense. If the speed limit is 70 and I go 69, haven’t I met the definition of slowing down? Is the law written in specific terms stating you must be traveling 5, 10, 15, or more miles per hour less than the posted limit? I feel the wording, “slow down” as very arbitrary and would challenge any ticket if ever cited for such a violation. Slow down is arbitrary at best.

    1. Gary S says:

      Before you make a comment you should read the link in this article with the current law & proposed amendments (underlined). This is just an article of adding tow trucks to the current law that requires one to slow down 20mph or move over one lane if there. If you are going 25mph on a single lane road, you pass at 5mph. This is also not a license for tow truck drivers to speed, break traffic laws and act as emergency vehicles while in motion going to a service call. This is stationary as in being stopped on the side of the road hooking up a disabled vehicle.

      1. Rick says:

        So run over the tow guy,who would care ?

  4. billy says:

    Slowing down is fine…but for Jose to stop traffic looking to see if Juan is getting his car towed is another story!!!

  5. aircooledtx says:

    I would say in support to tow drivers, as long as they are doing a accident or recovery, I would slow down, but to just say to repo/drivers or any tow driver has right to demand same as police or fire is wrong.

  6. Jack Y says:

    Gary S needs to read the law again. It states that you should slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit not just 20 less than what you are doing.

  7. Elmer says:

    Austin does not care about us when we are changing a tire. We don’t have a lobbiest.

  8. texas heartland says:

    My husband is a first responder, firefighter/paramedic and he already hates this law! He says that people trying to change lanes as they see flashing lights cause more accidents and more danger than the original traffic incident. Maybe they should rethink this.

  9. Todd says:

    Wreckers are not first responders ! What a joke. These guys are thieves and repo men.A cop is a first responder or a fireman not these slime balls

    1. MARTIN says:

      MARTIN I THINK THAT PEOPLES IGNORANCE ABOUT WHAT THIS LAW IS ABOUT, IS BIGGER THEN PEOPLE THINK!!!!!! WHO CLEARS THE WRECKS ON THE FREEWAYS AND ROADWAYS EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!! IS NOT THE REPO MAN ARE THE FIRE DEPARTMENT,THE AMBULANCE, OR EVEN THE POLICE!!!!!!!! IS NO OTHER THEN THE GUY IN THE TOW TRUCK THAT ARRIVES TO THE ACCIDENT SCENES EVERYDAY!!!!!!! THIS IS THE SAME GUY THAT PICKS YOU UP ON THE SIDE OF THE FREEWAY AND WHERE EVER YOU’R CAR BREAKS DOWN 24/7 OF THE WEEK I THINK WE DESERVE A LITTLE APPRECIATION AND RESPECT!!!!!!! THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU SPEAK OR WRITE ANYTHING NEGATIVE AGAINST THIS LAW!!!!!!!

      1. princess says:

        @ Martin i agree with you all the way.And besides repo men and women don’t pick up on the side of a freeway.Anyway if you pay your dam bills their would be no reason for a repo men or women.I support this law 100% if it was one of them they would have a different opinion.

  10. darrell says:

    this is stupid. who is going to enforce it? if an officer is there to enforce it, then he should have his lights on anyway. if thats the case, there is no need to include the tow truck under the law because the officers vehicle allready meats the requirement.

  11. steve says:

    ok i have some funny a bit here. But if the speed limit is 20 mph I guess you would have to stop until the wreck is clear before allowing you to proceed if its a 2 lane road. I think that the city should have its own tow service to aleviate any mistakes in tow trucks as first responders otherwise you are giving to much power to tow companies and before long you will have utility companies getting the same laws for them.

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