New Traffic Laws Go Into Effect

New laws enacted by the State Legislature go into effect on September first. As Laurie Johnson reports — several of the changes will affect nearly everyone.

The new law likely to have the most impact on the most people is the seatbelt law.

Right now anyone in the front seat of a vehicle must be buckled in. In the back seat, anyone under 17 must also
wear a safety belt. But Tela Mange with the Texas Department of Public Safety says that’s about to change.

“Starting September 1st, everyone seated in a vehicle no matter where they sit — whether they’re in the front seat, back seat, whether they’re grown-ups or kids — everyone must be secured by safety belts.”

Most law enforcement agencies will likely have a 60-90 day grace period as people get used to the new rule. And while you’re reminding everyone in the back seat to buckle up, you might also want to stay off that cell phone — at least in school zones.

“If you are driving through a school zone when the lights are activated and you’re on a wireless device or cell phone, you could get a ticket. So the only way that you could use the cell phone is if the vehicle is stopped or if you’re using a hands-free device.”

Signs will be posted in the school zones, reminding drivers of the cell phone restrictions. And for anyone who may be miffed by the new rules, Mange says keep in mind the new laws are designed for your own safety.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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