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New Texas Traffic Laws Scheduled To Hit the Road in September

On Sept. 1, 2011, a number of new modifications to the Texas traffic code take effect. Not surprisingly, this means more restrictions for some Texas drivers. However, the thrust of the new laws actually allows for greater freedom on Texas roadways.

Young Drivers’ Cell Phone Ban

Currently, those Texans granted a provisional license are prohibited from using a cellular phone in any capacity (both talking and texting) for the first 12 months. After Sept. 1, the cell phone ban will be strengthened to include every driver under the age of 18.

Increased Speed limits

Texas is the only state that still requires drivers to slow down after dark. State statutes establish a nighttime speed limit of 65 mph on all roads with a higher daytime limit. This “nighttime differential” has been repealed; starting Sept. 1, night speed limits will be abolished throughout the state.

The elimination of the nighttime differential is not the only change to Texas speed limits. After Sept. 1, more miles of highway will be eligible for a 75 mph or 80 mph speed limit. Functionally, this means the speed limit will be increased to 75 mph on most highways throughout the state.

Further, Texas is soon to be the proud home of America’s fastest posted speed limit. When the new laws take effect, officials may establish speed limits as high as 85 mph on roads designed to handle increased vehicle velocities. Before an 85 mph speed limit may be posted, however, the designated segment of roadway must pass review in a traffic and safety engineering study.

More Changes on the Horizon?

The new modifications to Texas traffic law represent a significant departure from previous regulations. Even so, the traffic law is constantly evolving, and more alterations should be expected in the future.

In fact, a bill that was also set to take effect in September would have banned text messaging while driving for all Texans. While the anti-texting bill passed in both houses of the state legislature, it was killed by Governor Rick Perry’s veto on June 17. As one of approximately a dozen similar bills introduced during the 2011 legislative session, it is likely Texas lawmakers will soon revisit texting and driving.

Because Texas traffic laws are complicated and constantly changing, it is important to ensure you are not unfairly penalized. If you have received a citation, contact a local traffic ticket defense attorney today.

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