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8-23-05 - Notable traffic and criminal laws that go into effect on September 1 (unless noted otherwise) include the following:
- Use of wireless communications devices (including cell phones) prohibited for the first six months after teenagers get their driver licenses.
- Passenger bus drivers transporting minors prohibited from using wireless communications devices, except in emergencies or when the bus is stopped.
- An ignition interlock device is required if a driver?s blood alcohol level is determined to be .15 or more (upon conviction).
- A six-month driver license suspension is given for a person convicted of providing alcohol to a minor (one year for second offense).
- One year driver license suspension for minors who are convicted of a second alcohol offense.
- All children younger than 5 years of age (old law was younger than 4) and less than 36 inches tall are required to be in a child safety seat system.
- Safety seat infractions are classified as moving violations.
- If a driver younger than 25 years of age commits a traffic offense classified as a moving violation, the judge must require the driver to complete a driving safety course?and, if the driver holds a provisional driver license (under 18 years of age), submit to a DPS road test. Failure by the driver to meet this requirement will result in a final conviction for that traffic offense.
- A person commits a traffic offense if they are involved in a crash on the main lane, ramp, shoulder, median or adjacent area of a freeway and don?t move their vehicle to an area that minimizes interference with freeway traffic (assuming the vehicle is drivable).
- The penalty for using someone else?s drivers license or ID card is increased to a Class A misdemeanor. It also clarifies that use of a false ID by someone under 21 for purchase of alcohol is a Class C misdemeanor.
- The renewal time for a concealed handgun license (CHL) increased from four to five years, which will reduce the average annual cost of a license.
- Age requirement for active duty or retired members of the military applying for a CHL reduced from 21 years of age to 18, and the original license fee and any renewal fees for active duty members of the armed forces reduced by 50 percent.
- CHL renewal fees reduced by 50 percent for anyone over 60 years of age.
The texts of these bills can be found at www.capitol.state.tx.us. Select the enrolled version in the regular legislative session.