Texas-Specific Traffic Safety Laws You Should Know

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Texas-Specific Traffic Safety Laws You Should Know

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. With 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 cell phones 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 reduce your risk of a speeding related accident 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 crossing through the intersection 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.

Texas Seat Belt and Child Seat Laws

The importance of complying with Texas’ seat belt and booster seat laws goes way beyond the law. Not wearing the appropriate restraint can come with life-long or fatal consequences. In fact, the most vulnerable passengers in auto accidents are children, so ensuring compliance with the Texas car seat and booster seat law is imperative.

In Texas, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle or ride in one without wearing a safety belt. Everyone, from drivers to passengers, must wear a seatbelt. Drivers who violate safety belt laws could incur fines of $25 to $250, plus other court fees. When a minor does not wear a seat belt or use a car seat in the vehicle, the adult driver will be vicariously responsible for the situation.

According to Texas Transportation Code Section 545-412, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle when transporting children under the age of eight and short of four feet nine inches without using the proper safety seat. A violation of Texas’ child seat law is punishable with fines ranging from $25 to $250 and a misdemeanor charge.

Texas Auto Insurance Laws

Texas law requires all motorists to have auto insurance. State law mandates that Texas drivers carry at least $30,000 per injured person, up to a maximum of $60,000 per accident. The minimum property damage requirement for Texas drivers is $25,000 per accident.

However, these are simply minimum requirements, and there is no guarantee that a minimal policy will cover all of your recovery and expenses if you are injured. In Texas, drivers are not required to carry uninsured or underinsured motorists insurance, but the option to do so is worth considering. You would need this insurance if you were injured in an accident caused by a driver who wasn’t insured or who had insufficient coverage.

Not only does Texas law require you to meet the 30/60/25 auto insurance standard, but you must also show proof of insurance upon request from the police. Whenever you are pulled over by the police, they will ask to see your vehicle registration and driver’s license, as well as proof of insurance. Aside from that, you’ll need proof that your insurance is active if you’re in an accident.

After you have purchased car insurance coverage, you will receive identification documents from your insurance company. This information should be immediately stored in your glove compartment so they’re available for immediate retrieval if you’re in an accident or if a police officer requests to see them.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Texas

If you or someone you love has received a citation for a traffic safety violation, you need trusted and experienced lawyers who will fight for you. The expert Board-Certified Houston car accident lawyers at Sutliff & Stout have helped thousands of people successfully navigate the criminal justice system.

When you’re ready to move forward with your car accident case with a trusted accident lawyer, call 713-987-7111 or contact us online to schedule your free one-on-one consultation with an amazing member of our staff.

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