New Driving Laws Aim to Keep Kids, Drivers Safer

Laws are changing for Texas drivers. Nearly 700 new laws went into effect Sunday, and some of the changes you'll see will be behind the wheel.

Some of these new measures tackle housekeeping issues. One of the laws, for instance, clarifies the fines for driving without both license plates.

But some of the bills aim to protect kids and drivers.

With three daughters ranging from kindergarten to 7th grade, Jeni Fengel knows the dangers of traffic around school buses.

"I see people go around school buses all the time in the morning," she said. "I definitely think that's a concern because you can't see a kid in front of a school bus."

A new law aims to change that.

It more than doubles the minimum fine for passing a bus loading or unloading kids from $200 to $500.

"I think that would really make a person think about it before they do it," said father Bobby Lockett.

Another law expands the cell-phone-free school zones to include school property around the crossing zone.

"I would not want anyone to call me and say your daughter or son has been hit," Lockett said.

You can also now show proof of insurance on your phone if you get pulled over.

"Just a lot of it's common sense," said Ross Smith of Troy, like the expansion of the move over/slow down laws to include stopped TxDOT vehicles with their lights flashing.

"They want to go home in the afternoons or evenings or the nights or the mornings, you know," Smith said. "They're working all hours, especially out here on 35."

Another new law doubles the penalty for leaving the scene of a fatal accident from a max of 10 years to a max of 20 years in jail.

A big punishment, but not useful for everyone.

"Only the people that get stopped," Fengel said, not the ones who ignore driving laws to begin with.

A couple more laws to tell you about: Another driving law requires drivers involved in accidents to check on other potential victims to see if they need help.

And House bill 124 outlaws the plant and drug salvia divinorum, putting it in penalty group three of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.


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