Texas lawmakers have wrapped up their work for the year, but not before
approving several notable traffic laws that are scheduled to go into effect
Thursday, Sept. 1.
They include the following:
HB51 requires installation of an ignition interlock device if driver is
found guilty of having a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher.
HB754 closes the loophole that prevents police from cracking down on
tarping laws. It allows police to ticket anyone not covering their load of
loose material with a tarp, whether it’s in the process of spilling something
or not. It also allows judges to increase fines for violations.
HB1481 creates a traffic violation for driving around a barricade put
on the road because of dangerous conditions. It also makes it a Class B
misdemeanor if a person drives around a barricade that has been placed on the
roadway because of water.
HB1484 specifies that a person commits a traffic offense, if they are
involved in an accident on a freeway and fail to move their vehicle, if it is
drivable, to an area clear of traffic.
HB2257 allows the Texas Transportation Commission to establish a
daytime speed limit of 80 mph for personal vehicles on certain stretches of
Interstates 10 and 20 in western Texas. Trucks would continue to be restricted
to the current 70 mph limit posted in those areas.
SB1005 provides that a moving violation committed by a driver younger
than 25 years of age would require the driver to complete a driving safety
course. If the driver holds a provisional license, they must submit to a road
test. Failure by the driver to fulfill the obligation would result in a
conviction for that traffic offense.
SB1257 disqualifies a person from holding a commercial driver’s license
if the person’s driving “is determined to constitute an imminent hazard.” It
also makes it illegal for young drivers to use cell phones for the first six
months that they have a license. And it prohibits passenger bus drivers transporting
minors from talking on the phone, except in an emergency.
SB1258 specifies that a CDL or commercial driver learner’s permit
expire in five years instead of six years.
SB1670 requires the Texas Department of Insurance, in consultation with
other agencies, to establish a verification program of whether vehicle owners
have auto insurance. It is intended to reduce the number of uninsured drivers.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative