For those of you whom don’t know, January was the last month of the grace period for our new Texas driving safety laws. The laws went into effect last year, September 1st of 2013. These new laws are important for everyone to know, because many fines and penalties have been increased for traffic and moving violations. These law changes and penalty increases have been made to help make the roadways a safer place, specifically when it comes to school zones, passing school buses, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) workers, and for fleeing the scene of an accident.
New Texas Driving Laws – Hit and Run
Police of across Texas have noticed a trend. Drivers involved in an accident involving injury or death are fleeing the scene before police officers arrive. Many of the cases where there was a hit and run incident, the driver had been drinking. They had fled the scene because the penalty for hit and run was less severe than Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
The law has now been changed. The penalty now for leaving the scene of an accident involving a death or injury will carry the same weight as for intoxicated manslaughter. This means a hit and run could result in 2 to 20 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
Police hope that these new fine increases and penalties help remind people that helping the injured moments after the accident can be very critical. The biggest impact is expected to help pedestrians who have been hit by a motorist.
School Zones and School Buses
Cellphone usage while in a school zone has been banned now for some time. This is of course unless the vehicle is stopped, the driver is using a hands free device, and it does not apply to emergency calls. Now, the law has been extended to all of school property. This would include parking lots, pick-up and drop-off zones, etc. This was put into place to help parents and students that would otherwise be distracted around school grounds. Those who fail to abide by this law face a $200 fine.
It has always been against the law to pass a school bus that has children getting on and off the school bus. There has now been an increased fine for passing a school bus. The fine used to range from $200 to $1000. Now the fine will be $500 to $1250. In addition to stop signs and red flashing lights, many school buses are being equipped with cameras to catch people who pass school buses when they should not. A fine of $300 will be mailed to the owner of the car that is captured on camera. But, if an officer catches you and pulls you over for the offense, the higher penalties will apply.
Texas Department of Transportation Vehicles
By now, Texas drivers should be become familiar with slowing down or changing lanes for police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances. The same idea will now be applied towards TxDOT Vehicles that are stopped and have blue or amber flashing lights. Just like for the other emergency vehicles, you must move from the closest lane to them, or you must slowdown 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit. This is to help insure the safety of TxDOT workers while on the roads or freeways. Those who violate this law can be fined up to $200.
It is important to keep up and to follow these new Texas driving safety laws. These new laws and changes for hit and run, school zones and buses, as well as TxDoT vehicles have been put in the place to help make Texas roads a safer place.
In many cases you will be allowed to take a defensive driving course to dismiss a traffic ticket for moving violations. That way your ticket won’t go on your driving record. Click Here to visit our website for more information about taking and defensive driving course online, or Click Here to visit our blog for more driving safety tips and news on new Texas driving safety laws.
A Sense Of Humor Defensive Driving
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Richland Hills TX 76180