Effective September 1st, there are new laws for Texans to abide by. State legislators passed several new laws; therefore, we feel it is our duty as good citizens to pass some of them on to our fellow Texans:
- Handheld cell phones are prohibited from use while in school zones, unless the vehicle is stopped or the driver is using a hands-free set. Fines will not be imposed until June 1st, 2010. (Hopefully, this will get drivers used to the law and they will stop using them in school zones.)
- “Click It or Ticket” starts at a new level Tuesday, when all passengers in the vehicle are required to buckle up, even those in the backseat.
- Children 8 and younger who are shorter than 4’9” are required to be secured in a booster seat. The same deadline of June 1 for fines applies to this law.
- Teen drivers under 18 will be prohibited from using cell phones while driving for the first year of their license. (Previous law was for 6 months.)
- Penalties will be increased for misusing parking spaces for handicapped or placards for people with disabilities.
- All applicants under age 18 must take the driving skills exam to receive a driver’s license.
- Passengers age 5 and younger are outlawed from riding on a motorcycle except in a sidecar or during an emergency.
- A minor’s driver’s license will be suspended for failing a breath-or blood-alcohol test while operating a watercraft.
- The license of someone who drives while intoxicated with a child passenger is automatically suspended.
- Questions regarding rights and responsibilities in relation to bike safety will be added to the driver’s license exam.
- Convalescent homes, nursing homes and related institutions are required to have an automated external defibrillator (AED), and personnel trained to use one.
- Restaurants are required to list food and food-handling activities that involve bare-hand contact and to adopt some contamination control guidelines.
While we chose laws that involve the safety of others, we are hopeful that people are aware of these and many other changes, and will respect and abide by them.