Rules of the Road During Flood Season in Texas
For four years in a row, Texas has experienced significant flooding due to unusual amounts of rainfall. Many people have lost their lives in cars that were swept away in rushing water and many houses have been ruined by flooding across the state. First responders are on high alert and have been involved in numerous high water rescues.
One story made the news in 2016 when a man was rescued after his car entered a flooded roadway and was filled with water. Johnson County had to use a drone to fly overhead and locate the man and then emergency personnel executed a rescue. But what made this story different was what happened to the man after he was rescued. Johnson County Sheriff’s slapped handcuffs on the man and arrested him for driving around a barricade.
Driving Around a Water Barricade is a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas
Section 472.022 of the Texas Transportation Code governs “OBEYING WARNING SIGNS AND BARRICADES” and provides (in relevant part):
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) disobeys the instructions, signals, warnings, or markings of a warning sign; or
(2) drives around a barricade.
(d)(2) if a person commits an offense under Subsection (a) where a warning sign or barricade has been placed because water is over any portion of a road, street, or highway, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor.
In Texas, the punishment range for a Class B Misdemeanor is 0-180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000.
While arrests after a water rescue are not the norm, this certainly provides another reason not to drive around a high water barricade. You would think that the potential danger to life and property would be enough, but sometimes folks need a little more motivation. Johnson County has given us that.