LUBBOCK, Texas — On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the Lubbock Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office held a briefing regarding a new operation to prevent fatal crashes.
DPS Trooper TJ Martin has been with the agency for more than a decade.
“Since I’ve been here, this is the most fatality crashes I’ve seen in Lubbock,” Martin said.
Usually working out in the county, Martin found himself in the city–helping LPD enforce traffic laws. The law enforcement agencies will be working together, focusing on speeding violations and failing to follow ‘Slow Down, Move Over.’
‘Slow Down, Move Over’ became a law in 2003. Drivers are required to move to the next lane when an emergency vehicle, tow truck or DPS Vehicle is on the side of the road with their lights activated. If drivers cannot move over, they are required to slow down at least 20 miles per hour. Failing to do so can result in a Class C misdemeanor, but could also have more severe consequences.
“Most of the time people are stopped, they’re reaching for their insurance, they take their safety belt off, and they could be ejected from the vehicle or seriously hurt,” Martin said.
Martin said in his own experience, he has seen many people fail to follow the law.
“Several times I’ve jumped on the hood of a car that I’ve stopped,” Martin said.
During one traffic stop on Wednesday, Martin counted approximately nine drivers failing to move over or slow down.
“This law has been out for  years, yet…still just the non-compliance we get,” Martin said.
Martin issued several warnings to drivers, explaining the law and its importance–not just for first responders’ safety but for everyone’s safety.
“Our goal is to gain voluntary compliance so people can get to point A to point B safely,” Martin said.
DPS reports the most common reasons for fatal crashes for the past three years include speeding, ignoring stop signs or traffic lights and failing to yield right of way when turning left.