Texas drivers may travel on an «enhanced shoulder» or paved shoulder, in some cases if deemed necessary and can be safely completed in accordance with Texas Transportation Code Section 545.058. On the right hard shoulder, it is permitted to drive to stop, stand or park the vehicle; accelerate before entering the lane; or before a right turn. The use of the right shoulder is also permitted if you pass another vehicle that is slowing or has stopped in the lane or is about to turn left, or to let a faster vehicle pass. Section 1131 of the New York Highway Traffic Act also provides that, while driving on the emergency lane is generally prohibited, standing or parking on the side of the road is permitted unless specifically prohibited in a designated area where the motorist has stopped or parked. Another section that raises questions is section (a)(4). This section refers to situations where a driver wants to pass a long line of traffic to turn right onto another road. Based on the simple meaning of the words, section (a)(4) allows a driver to use the emergency lane. However, the phrase «if necessary» plays a major role in assessing the driver`s decision to use the side lane. The Code does not explicitly define this term, but there is Texas case law on the subject. In 2012, the Court of Appeal heard a case called Lothrop v. The State of Texas. In this case, the court held that the term «necessary» should be understood in relation to the seven permitted lanes listed in the Act for the use of the side lane.
Drivers must never drive on the emergency lane with the sole intention of passing another vehicle. The use of the emergency lane for overtaking is permitted only if staying in the main lane would result in a collision; For example, if the driver in front of you suddenly stops and you don`t have time to slow down so you don`t hit him. Drivers also have the option of using the right shoulder to avoid a collision or when traffic control equipment such as construction barrels require it. An emergency lane driving ticket is a mobile offence, which means you can earn points on your driver`s licence. Finally, these points may result in the suspension of your driver`s license. Points on your driver`s license and a moving offense on your record also mean you no longer have a clean driving history — which you might need for certain jobs — and you`ll pay higher costs for auto insurance. Hargroder argued that the mere fact that a driver overtakes a slow driver on the emergency lane is not sufficient evidence of a traffic violation. The Ninth District agreed, but added that the soldier also said he was looking at Hargroder`s lawn. This alone would justify the traffic stop, even if Hargroder had a legitimate reason for driving on the emergency lane. On the left side, driving on the emergency lane is allowed to slow down or stop a disabled vehicle that cannot reach the right emergency lane to avoid a collision or if required by traffic control facilities. Police and emergency vehicles and cyclists are not subject to these regulations.
In some cases, this can have even more serious consequences. Take this recent case from Beaumont, Texas Department of Public Safety v. Hargroder. It was actually a case of drunk driving. But like most of these cases, it started with a traffic stop. Here, a state soldier said he observed a man named Hargroder driving faster than the specified speed limit on an improved shoulder. The ensuing traffic stop led the soldier to believe that Hargroder was driving while intoxicated. The soldier then arrested Hargroder.
Motorists convicted of traffic offences also receive points on their driver`s licence, the number of points being determined by the offence in question. Driving on the emergency lane leads to two points on your driver`s license. A total of 11 points over an 18-month period means that a driver is exposed to the real risk of having their driver`s licence revoked. Suspending your licence could make it very difficult for you to complete your professional and family activities. The most important legal issue was whether the soldier had a «reasonable suspicion» of initiating the traffic stop. In other words, did the soldier have good reason to believe that Hargroder was illegally driving his vehicle on an enhanced emergency lane? The administrative judge (ALD) believed it. The district court judge did not do so. The appeals court said the district judge should have gone to the ALJ as long as there was a «reasonable basis» for his decision. NY VTL Section 1131 prohibits motor vehicles from driving on the side of the road unless the vehicle is specifically licensed to drive in that area. For example, bicycles are permitted to operate on the emergency lane in many circumstances, but cars and trucks are not permitted to do so unless they are in a designated area where driving on the emergency lane is permitted, or unless a flag or police officer instructs them to drive on the emergency lane. Don`t forget to activate your hazard lights if you stop a broken down vehicle on the emergency lane, even during the day.
Have you ever been frustrated by the flow of traffic and decided to try driving the emergency lane of the road? In most cases, this is a traffic violation. The Texas Transportation Code lists only seven cases where driving on an «enhanced emergency lane» to the right of the main highway is legal: If you need to remove your disabled vehicle from the roadway or stop for another reason, but traffic or road conditions prevent you from reaching the right emergency lane. If you drive on the emergency lane of the road, you could be breaking the law in upstate New York. While it is generally allowed to stand on the side of the road, unless there are signs to the contrary, you cannot simply drive on the emergency lane to escape traffic or for other reasons. If you do, you could get a speeding ticket.