Although Texas has not introduced new driving laws for the new year, January is a good time to refresh your knowledge of the regulations that keep everyone safe on the road. Motorists can take steps to prevent accidents by driving legally and safely.
These are the most recent Texas driving laws that you should review before you hit the road.
Cell phone laws
As of 2017, Texas law prohibits motorists from sending or receiving electronic communications behind the wheel, including emails, text messages and direct messages. Cell phone use of any kind is not allowed in school zones, by drivers with learners permits or by drivers younger than 18. If drivers do use a phone behind the wheel, it must be completely hands-free. In addition, some cities and towns completely limit driver cell phone use.
Fines for a first-time cell phone offense range from $25 to $99 and can increase up to $200 for subsequent offenses. Drivers may also receive three points on their driving records. Texting offenses that seriously injure or kill another person are now Class A misdemeanors, resulting in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $4,000.
Leaving the scene of an accident
Drivers who cause a hit and run accident in which a person dies are now subject to a minimum 120-day prison sentence. Because this is the same sentence as for DWI manslaughter, lawmakers believe that the law will discourage drivers from leaving the scene of an accident. Prior to the introduction of this law in 2019, such motorists usually received probation and community service for this type of conviction.
These regulations can be challenging for new drivers and those from other states to understand. In general, you can make a U-turn whenever it is safe to do so with visibility of at least 500 feet in both directions. Drivers who make an unsafe turn can receive a reckless driving ticket.