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 traffic offense.