This week, a number of laws took effect in Texas. Among these, several laws have been introduced or amended with the sole focus of protecting public safety on roadways and ensuring that preventable accidents do not occur. Given the fact that car accidents and other traffic accidents are a leading cause of preventable injury and wrongful death throughout the nation, few have contested the introduction of these new laws.
Cell Phones on School Property
As of September 1, the ban on using cell phones and text messaging in school zones has been expanded. Now, drivers are prohibited from using cell phones and texting anywhere on school properties, including parking lots and drop-off zones. Violations are punishable by fines of up to $200. Although texting while driving and distracted driving continue to injure and kill thousands of Americans each year, Texas still remains one of the few states without a statewide texting ban for all drivers. Still, victims injured by distracted drivers may have a right to recover their damages by filing a personal injury claim.
School Bus Passing
Passing school buses with flashing lights is already a traffic offense in Texas. Under new changes to the law, however, fines for doing so will be increased from $200 to $1,000 to anywhere from $500 to $1,250. Increased punishments may help deter the risk of preventable harm from happening to children exiting school buses.
Motorists are now required to slow down or move over when approaching vehicles belonging to the Texas Department of Transportation. Drivers must either move out of the closest lane to the TxDOT vehicle or must slow to a speed 20 miles below the posted speed limited if the road offers no other lane.
While new traffic laws and increased penalties are essential to establishing a standard that helps promote public safety, the unfortunate reality is that drivers continue to disobey traffic laws and drive carelessly every day. When a driver's negligence can be determined as the cause of a preventable accident, injured victims and their loved ones can find the support and representation they need by working with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer from The Daspit Law Firm.
Request a free case consultation or call (713) 364-0915 to learn more about your rights and how our firm can help.