Every year, thousands of drivers in Texas are injured or fatally wounded in traffic collisions. Traffic accidents cause approximately $40 billion in estimated property damage annually. Due to these rising statistics, it is more important than ever for motorists and pedestrians to be educated regarding driving rules in Texas.
Keeping up to date on state traffic laws can help prevent an accident, but accidents are not always avoidable. However, learning more about the different guidelines for driving in Texas can help you steer clear of any potentially dangerous circumstances that might lead to a crash.
Texas Distracted Driving Laws
One of the fastest-growing threats to traffic safety is distracted driving. With the advent of mobile phones, it is more common than ever to see drivers not focused on the road. Texas lost over 455 people last year to accidents involving a distracted driver.
The most common form of distracted driving is using a cellphone while driving. Such cases often indicate that text messages and phone calls account for most of the activity that distracts drivers enough to cause an accident. Unlike many other states, there is no statewide ban on the use of cellphones while operating a vehicle in Texas. Across the U.S., more than 90 cities have placed strict restrictions on the use of a phone while driving, and some of those restrictions include:
- Drivers with a learner’s permit cannot use phones while driving for the first six months
- Anyone operating a vehicle under the age of 18 is not permitted to use a phone
- School bus drivers cannot use cellphones when children are present on their bus
- Handheld devices may not be used when moving through a school zone
Violating these restrictions incurs fines that can range from $200 to $500, with more severe punishments for individuals who harm another person fatally or seriously as a result of their negligence.
Texas Speeding Laws
Texas has some of the most serene and beautiful roads in the country, and while it can be tempting to drive down them at the highest speed possible, it is vital to remember that speeding puts all motorists at risk.
The laws for speeding in Texas are similar to those in other states. Speeding isn’t merely a regional issue, as it affects the lives of people all over the United States. Here are a few other important statistics regarding Texas speeding laws:
- Severe automobile accidents are most likely to occur when speeding is involved.
- Speeding makes a vehicle harder to control (especially in the rain or snow).
- Speeding reduces the amount of time in which drivers can stop to avoid a hazardous situation.
In 2016, there were 300 deaths from crashes involving motor vehicles that were speeding, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Traveling above the speed limit on a Texas roadway is considered illegal for this particular reason.
One of the best ways to avoid speeding is to drive at the limit and brush up on local laws and restrictions so you do not find yourself accidentally going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. The government has created speed limits for certain situations, including:
- 15 mph on a beach (for cars, scooters, and motorcycles)
- 30 mph in an urban environment
- 15 mph in an alley
- 70 mph on a highway numbered by the state or federal government]
- 60 mph on highways in urban districts, if the highway is not numbered by the state or federal government
- 60 mph for school buses that have passed inspection and are traveling on highways numbered by the federal or state government
- 50 mph for school buses that did not pass inspection or are traveling on highways not numbered by Texas or the United States
In addition to the laws regarding distracted driving, Texas is also host to other laws that keep its drivers safe on the roads.
Texas Intersection Laws
While speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving are some of the most common causes of car collisions, there are many other culprits. In fact, another frequent contributor to those accidents is a poorly executed turn at a traffic intersection.
Many of these accidents occurred when cars were making right or left turns. Drivers should always examine both sides of a road before merging onto an intersection in order to avoid potential accidents. These rules, including the following, were designed to keep everyone involved in the accident safe:
- When making left turns, drivers are required to approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane
- Drivers must leave the intersection so as to arrive in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle
No matter which safety measure you apply, it is important that you adhere to the traffic laws in Texas in order to enjoy the benefits of our state’s beautiful roadways.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Texas
If you or someone you love is being taken to court for a traffic safety violation, you need trusted and experienced lawyers who will fight for you. The Board-Certified Houston auto accident attorneys at Sutliff & Stout have helped thousands of people successfully navigate the criminal justice system, and they can help you too.
When you’re ready to move forward with your car accident case, call 713-987-7111 or contact us online to schedule your free one-on-one consultation with an amazing member of our staff.