New Texas laws now in effect
Several new laws went into effect Sunday (Sept. 1) in Texas and here’s the way it works.
You’ve got to obey them even if you don’t know about them.
Here are a few of the most obvious changes, according to the Department of Public Safety:
• HB 347 expands the current limitations on wireless communication device (cell phone) use in an active school crossing zone to include the property of a public elementary, middle, or junior high school for which a local authority has designated a school crossing zone.
The use will only be restricted during the time a reduced speed limit is in effect for the school crossing zone.
It will not apply to vehicles that are stopped, or drivers using a hands-freedeviceormakingan emergency call.
• HB 1174 amends current statute to increase the minimum fines for the misdemeanor offense of passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children.
• SB 181 allows a motor vehicle operator the option of using a wireless communication device (such as a cell phone) to display motor vehicle financial responsibility (proof of insurance) information as evidence of financial responsibility.
• SB 510 requires drivers to move over or slow down (as required depending on the roadway) when approaching a stationary TxDOT vehicle with its lights activated and not separated from the roadway by a traffic-control device.
• HB 625 clarifies that the penalty for operating a vehicle on a public highway without displaying the two license plates assigned to the vehicle is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $200.
• HB 3668 amends current statute to require the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in the injury or death of a person to immediately determine whether a person is involved in the accident, and if so, whether the person requires aid, in addition to other existing statutory requirements.
• SB 275 increases the penalty for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death of a person and failing to render aid from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony.
• HB 1284 increases the penalty for the offense of initiating, communicating or circulating a false report of an emergency (like a bomb threat) involving an institution of higher education.
• HB 2637 provides that an individual fraudulently using identifying information to avoid registering as a sex offender to be punished at the next highest degree felony.