As of September 1, 2013, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has
put new traffic laws in order. The goal of these new laws is to increase
driver protection on the road while punishing those who do not follow the law.
The first new law passed has to do with the use of wireless communication
devices on the road. Previously, using a cell phone in an active school
crossing zone was prohibited. Now, the use of a cell phone is prohibited
by any public, middle, or junior high school with a designated school
crossing zone. Another school related traffic law that was altered is
the penalties for passing a stopped school bus that is unloading or loading
children. The fines for this offense have increased by about $300.
An addition has been made regarding when drivers are required to move over
or slow down. It used to be the case that drivers needed to yield to police,
fire and emergency vehicles. The new law adds the requirement to move
over or slow down when approaching a stationary Texas Department of Transportation
vehicle when the lights are on.
Two other laws now have increased penalties. The first is
leaving the scene of an accident, failing to render aid resulting in the death of another individual. This
offense used to be charged as a third degree felony, but is now a second
degree felony with significantly harsher consequences. The second is an
offense of communicating or initiating any type of false emergency report
involving a higher education facility (for example, a fake bomb threat).
This is now a state jail felony offense rather than a misdemeanor.
To read about the other changes to traffic laws in Texas, check out the
DPS news release.
Contact The Law Office of John J. Fox for representation from a San Antonio traffic crime lawyer if you have
been charged with a