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Getting to Know the Top Vehicle Safety Laws in Texas

by Stephen Thomas on July 16, 2013

Vehicle Safety Laws in Texas

Every state has its own version of traffic safety laws and regulations on the road. Safety laws in Texas are more liberal than other states in many ways, but can also be very strict in their enforcement. Here are important traffic safety laws to be aware of in Texas:

Child Car Seat Laws

All infants must be in a rear-facing restraint system from birth until they reach 35 pounds. After that, they will need a DMV-approved child car seat until age 8, or until they are 4’9” or taller. Any driver caught transporting a child without following these guidelines can be fined between $100 – $200 on the first offense, and much more for repeat offenses.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Texas motorcycle helmet laws can be very flexible. While most riders are required to wear at minimum a DOT-approved helmet, you can circumnavigate these laws if you are 21 years or older, have at least $10,000 in medical insurance, and have completed an approved motorcycle safety course. Riders who meet these criteria do not legally have to wear a helmet while riding.

Cell Phones and Texting

Texas is one of the few states which still legally allow cell phone use while driving, as long as it is done within certain limitations. Drivers who have passed the beginning and intermediate stages of the graduated learning process can use phones for calling and texting anywhere except within an official school zone (unless stopped, or if employing the use of a hands free device).

Leaving Children Unattended in a Vehicle

Texas has much harsher consequences for leaving children unattended than most other states do. Leaving a child 7 years old or younger in a car unaccompanied by someone 15 or older for 5 minutes can cost you up to $10,000 and some jail time.

Headlights

For motorcycles, the headlight must be on at all times, day or night, unless the bike was built prior to 1975. Fortunately, most motorcycles are made with an “always on” feature that ensures the headlight is on anytime the motor is running.

For bicycles, a headlight must be used in front, and a red light or reflector must be used in the rear while riding at night.

For cars, headlights have to be on 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise, or anytime visibility is impaired to less than 1000 feet ahead.

Reporting a Drunk or Dangerous Driver

The state of Texas strongly encourages all drivers to call 911 if they witness dangerous driving behavior on the road, either due to alcohol impairment or for any other reason. Simply tell the operator where you are and what you have witnessed. You could save a life.

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