You are likely well aware that traffic laws can vary significantly from state to state. Becoming familiar with the traffic laws that are specific to the state of Texas can not only help ensure the safety of you and your passengers, but can help keep you from incurring fines and possibly jail time. Below you will find some of the most important Texas driving laws, as well as some of the most unique.
Important Texas Driving Laws
- Slow Down and Move Over: Many states require that motorists slow down and move over when possible when approaching stopped emergency response vehicles while their lights are flashing, but Texas adds their own touch to the mix. In the state of Texas, motorists must slow down and change lanes when it is safe to do so if they are approaching tow trucks or TxDOT highway maintenance and construction vehicles as well.
- Right-of-Way: Left to Right: When traveling on a Texas highway that contains three or more lanes of traffic, drivers must yield to the motorist on the left if attempting to change lanes. For example, if the driver in the left lane and the driver in the right lane are both attempting to change change to the center lane, the driver on the left as the right of way and the driver on the right must wait. Failure to do so can result in some hefty fines, especially if an injury accident occurs.
- Stopping for School Buses: While it is common knowledge that motorists should stop when a school bus stop sign is extended, when the lights are flashing, or when children are getting on or off the bus or crossing the roadway, Texas law enforcement discovered that many motorists were not complying with the law. They decided that increasing the related fines might help encourage drivers to stop. A first occurrence can result in fines of up to $1250, while a second occurrence within 5 years can bring fines of up to $2000.
- Cell Phone Usage: Using your cell phone while in a school crossing zone, or while on school property when the crossing zone requires a reduced speed, is unlawful in the state of Texas. The law does, however, permit usage when the vehicle is stopped and usage with a hands-free device.
Unique Traffic Laws in Texas
Texas, like many other states, has a few obscure traffic laws that have somehow remained on the books regardless of how irrelevant or odd they might seem. While most of these laws are no longer enforced, they are interesting to learn about.
- DUI: When you receive a DUI in the state of Texas, you might not be the only one to pay for the crime. Texas law states that all passengers of the vehicle can lose their license when the driver is cited for DUI.
- Windshield Wipers: Although it is illegal to drive without windshield wipers in the state of Texas, however you are allowed to not have a windshield.
- Alcohol: In the state of Texas it is illegal to drive within arm’s length of alcohol. While the law itself doesn’t seem that odd, the details certainly do. It includes alcohol that is in another person’s bloodstream.
While some of the traffic laws in Texas might seem a little odd, familiarizing yourself with what is legal and what is not can help ensure that you maintain a clear driving record and prevent injuries to yourself, your passengers, and others on the roadway.