Traffic laws and legal responsibility

When emergency vehicles on the road are in a crash, traffic laws are key factors for determining fault in the accident.

Ordinary drivers and emergency vehicle drivers both have traffic laws they must abide by. The following are some common questions that often arise in these types of cases.

What responsibility does an ordinary driver have with emergency vehicles, law enforcement, construction and particular vehicles?

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas drivers must follow the “Move Over or Slow Down” law.

What is the Texas Move Over or Slow Down Law?

Drivers must move over or slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit. If the posted speed limit is 25 mph or less, drivers must slow to 5 mph. They must do this when the following types of vehicles approach:

  • Emergency vehicles (ambulances, fire trucks, etc.)
  • Law enforcement vehicles
  • Tow trucks
  • Utility service vehicles
  • TxDOT vehicles
  • Highway construction or maintenance vehicles using visual signals or flashing lights

What responsibility for safety do emergency vehicles on the road have?

Drivers must drive with caution and be ready to stop at intersection stop signs or stop lights. They must alert other drivers of their presence and avoid using an oncoming traffic lane whenever possible. While they can use discretion to go through intersections and can ignore certain traffic laws, they must not drive recklessly. They must regard the safety of other drivers.

How does Texas apply fault in accident cases?

Texas operates on modified comparative negligence. This means you can sue for damages even if you are partially at fault for an accident. However, to recover compensation for damages, you cannot be more than 50% at fault for causing the accident.

Do you need legal help with an emergency vehicle accident?

The Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz represents clients nationwide in cases that involve substantial injury through another party’s negligence. We have represented clients throughout Texas including clients in San Antonio, Austin and other locations.

Arrange a free consultation to discuss your case.