New traffic laws tomorrow

On September 1st, many new laws become effective. Their goal is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths needlessly caused by poor driving, especially by teenagers.

Did you know thatTexas leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities?

Or that of the 3,382 Texans killed in traffic accidents last year, 951 weren’t wearing seat belts?

Or that a 16 year old is five times more likely be be in a crash?

Here is a summary of the new traffic laws:

1. Seat belts – All passengers will be required to wear a seat belt –even those in the back seat.

2. Car seats – All children younger than 8 must be in one, unless they are taller than 4′ 9″.

3. Cellphones in school zones – Not permitted unless vehicle is stopped, the call is for emergency help, or a hands free device is used.

4. Drunk driving suspects with previous records, those causing serious injury or death, or those with a minor in the vehicle – Police will be required to draw their blood, improving the chances of a DWI conviction.

5. Drivers younger than 18 can not use a cellphone to talk or text while driving.

6. Drivers younger than 18 cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. until one year (not six months) after they get their license.

7. Drivers younger than 18 cannot drive with more than one person younger than 21 years old.

8. Driving with a suspended license or without insurance can result in a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000.

9. Driving without a valid license or uninsured and causing injury or death in an accident can result in up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.

10. Drivers licenses — for those younger than 18, a driving skills test will become mandatory.

11. Motorcycles: Proof that a certified training course has been completed will be needed to get a license. No passengers younger than 5 can ride.

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