Beginning Sunday Texans have new laws to keep in mind when they are driving around the state.
Two of the new laws focus on school zones. HB 347 expands the current limitations on cell phone use in an active school crossing zone to include property of a public elementary, middle, or junior high school for which a local authority has designated a school crossing zone.
It does not apply to cars that are stopped, drivers using hands free devices or emergency calls.
The other is HB 1147. It increases the fines for passing a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children.
"It increases fines from a minimum of $200.00 to $500.00 and a maximum fine of $1,250.00," said DPS Sgt. Bryan Witt.
The new law also increases the fine for a second offense within five years to a maximum fine of $2,000.00.
Texas is also bringing 21st century conveniences to the roadways with SB 510.
"You can start using your wireless device to start showing us proof that you do have insurance," Sgt. Witt said. "Anything that you can pull up like your iPad, cell phone device, anything that's wireless, you can pull up your current copy of your insurance card. We're not asking for your policy, we're asking for a current copy of your card that has an expiration date on it."
Sgt. Witt says SB 181 will provide more safety for TXDoT workers.
"If you see a TXDoT vehicle on the side of the road along with emergency vehicles you have to move over to a lane that's vacant, away from them or slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit," he said.
Other laws include HB 625, which makes driving without two licence plates a misdemeanor offense with a fine up to $200.
SB 275 increases the penalty for leaving the scene of a car accident to a second-degree felony. That's a penalty of between two and 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
HB 1284 increases the penalty for initiating or communicating a false report of an emergency such as a bomb threat involving an institution of higher education to a state jail felony.
DPS feels these laws will make Texas a safer place to live.
"As a result of these new provisions, Texans now have additional protection while traveling our roadways, and individuals who disregard our laws will face tougher penalties for a variety of crimes," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "DPS encourages all residents to educate themselves about the laws affecting their lives and to do their part in keeping Texans safe."
For a complete list of the new laws you can go to the DPS web site at www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/media_and_communications/pr082913.htm
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