• New Cellphone, Etc. Laws Take Effect

    Cellphones - The 81st Legislature passed several new driving laws earlier in the summer that go into effect September 1st. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, HB 55 makes it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. No one of any age can use a cellphone in a school zone, unless it's to make an emergency call, the vehicle is stopped or a hands-free device is used. Fines will be up to $200.

    Seat Belts – HB 537 requires that all vehicle occupants, including backseat riders, must be secured by a safety belt, no matter their age. Violations carry fines of up to $200.

    Child Car Seats – SB 61 amends the existing statute regarding child passenger safety seats. The bill requires that any child younger than 8 – unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches – must be in a safety seat. Only warning tickets will be issued until after June 1, after which fines of $25 will be imposed.

    For a recorded sound bite on this topic, call 512.424.2602 and for more of the DPS's “Sunset Legislation” and other DPS-related bills visit the Texas Department of Public Safety website at: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/.