News Release
February 13, 2013
Contact: Mandy Morton
(512) 463-0103
Nichols files bill to provide safe passage for highway and construction workers

Austin, TX — Today Senator Robert Nichols filed Senate Bill 510 to require motorists near stopped highway or construction vehicles- with lights activated- to either vacate the lane closest to the highway maintenance/construction vehicle or slow down. This bill is intended to create safer highways for both motorists and workers.

"As a former Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Commissioner, I believe that safety should be a top priority," said Nichols. "These men and women are at risk every time they put on their orange vests and work on our roads."

There is already a 'move-over/slow-down' law to protect emergency vehicles such as police, EMS and fire trucks. Tow trucks are even protected. This bill will simply offer the same protection to our state highway workers.

Since 1938, 101 TxDOT employees have been killed while working within the work zone or on the shoulder of a roadway. Seven of these fatalities were within the last 10 years, with two occurring in August and September of 2008.

"Employees at the Texas Department of Transportation risk their lives every day to ensure drivers have a safe and reliable highway system on which to travel," said TxDOT Commissioner Fred Underwood. "Safety is our top priority and we want to make sure that every Texan - including our TxDOT team members - is able to come home to their families every day."

"Even one preventable death is too many," noted Nichols. "In my opinion, this legislation is past due and I look forward to seeing it passed into law."