HOUSTON — Almost 800 new laws go into effect Sept. 1 in Texas, including several that drivers should be aware of as they hit the road.
Here is a quick breakdown of just some of the new laws affecting drivers:
Changing speed limits
Speed limits: House Bill 1885 allows engineers with the Texas Department of Transportation to temporarily change speed limits of portions of roads and highways due to construction or inclement weather. This is in response to the deadly 133-vehicle pileup on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth in February 2021.
Steeper fines for 'Move over, slow down' law
Fines increased for drivers who don't slow down or move over for stopped emergency vehicles: House Bill 898 would increase the fines drivers pay who don't move over or slow down when emergency vehicles are stopped. If drivers violate and cause injury to someone, there could be jail time.
Illegal street racing
Crackdown on illegal street racing: Senate Bill 1442 enhances penalties for those taking part in illegal street racing, while House Bill 2899 allows vehicles used in illegal street racing to be impounded. The law removes the requirement that there has to be property damage or if someone suffering bodily injury for the vehicle to be impounded.
Failure to identify
Failure to identify: Senate Bill 1551 makes failing to identify a criminal offense. That means if a driver fails to provide their driver’s license or does not provide their name, date of birth and address to an officer, they could be charged with a Class B or C misdemeanor.
Bentley's Law for drunk drivers
‘Bentley’s Law:’ House Bill 393 requires people convicted of intoxication manslaughter to make restitution payments for the support of a child whose parent or guardian is a victim. It is named for a similar law passed in other states stemming from a case in Missouri.
Electric vehicle registration
Electric vehicle registration fee: Senate Bill 505 requires owners of electric vehicles to pay an additional $200 fee when they register their vehicle or renew their registration. The fee is doubled for owners registering a new vehicle since they have to pay two year’s worth.