Monday, August 31, 2009

New traffic laws take effect in Texas

Here is a summary of new traffic laws going into effect in Texas beginning on September 1, 2009...

SB 328

The power of the police to draw blood in a DWI case is expanded. Warrantless blood draws will be mandatory if a person is arrested for an offense under Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code (Texas DWI Statute) and refuses the arresting officer's request for a specimen of breath or blood and
  • A person, other than the suspect, suffered bodily injury and was transported to a hospital or other facility for medical treatment;
  • The driver is under arrest for DWI with a child passenger under the age of 15;
  • The person has at least two prior DWI convictions; or
  • The driver has a previous conviction for DWI with a child passenger under the age of 15, intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.
The bill also allows any magistrate in Texas who is a licensed attorney to sign a search warrant authorizing a blood draw.

HB 357

ALL occupants of a car or truck must wear a seatbelt, regardless of their age or where they sit.

The definition of passenger vehicle will now include passenger vans designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers.

Motorcycle operators may not carry a passenger under the age of 5 unless that passenger is seated in a sidecar.

SB 61

All children under the age of 8 must be restrained in an approved child passenger seat UNLESS the child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. The fine for committing an offense will be $250 and a special court cost will be added to help TxDOT provide safety seats for low income families. While the law goes into effect on September 1, 2009, officer may not issue citations until June 1, 2010;.

HB 55

School zones are now off limits to drivers using wireless communication devices -- unless the vehicle is at a stop or the operator is using a hands-free model. In order to enforce this prohibition, signs must be posted at the beginning of each school zone to inform drivers of the prohibition. It is a defense to prosecution if the operator is making an emergency phone call.

HB 2730

A driver's license suspension will now be mandatory for anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated with a child passenger. The reinstatement fee after completing an education class will be raised from $50 to $100. Minors will no longer be able to avoid license penalties if they turn 21 before their court date.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really had a lot to say on this post, but I'm texting this in on my Blackberry in a school zone.