Being September 1, a bunch of new laws go into effect here in Texas.
HB 55 makes it illegal to use a wireless communication device in a school zone unless the vehicle is stopped or a hands-free device is used. Cities or counties wanting to enforce this law must post a sign at the beginning of each school zone to inform drivers that using a wireless communications device is prohibited and the operator is subject to a fine. It is a defense to prosecution if the operator was making an emergency call.
Why? Because talking (or texting) on the phone can be very distracting and render you a more dangerous driver, less aware of your surroundings? distracted from your primary task at hand? If it’s bad enough to avoid doing this in school zones, why isn’t it bad enough to avoid doing this everywhere?
SB 129 goes into effect. I never heard of “neighborhood electric vehicle” before.
Relating to concealed handguns:
HB 2730 amends numerous provisions regarding concealed handgun licenses (CHLs), including eliminating student loan defaults as a disqualifier, to clarify that DPS must suspend or revoke a license when the licensee becomes ineligible and mandating that a magistrate suspend a CHL held by the subject of an emergency protective order.
There’s actually a lot of stuff in HB 2730.
HB 2664 provides a defense to prosecution if a concealed handgun license holder carries a concealed handgun into an establishment that gets 51 percent or more of its income from the sale of alcoholic beverages, but has failed to post the statutorily required notice that it derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale of alcoholic beverages. (Under current law, a concealed handgun licensee can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for doing this.)
This is welcome. I’ve been in a few places where I was surprised to discover a 51% sign was posted, but because it was posted improperly I didn’t learn about it until I was technically in violation of the law.
HB 2730 removes DPS authority to suspend a concealed handgun license (CHL) for the holder’s failure to display the CHL to a peace officer on demand. It removes associated penalties and suspensions for the failure to display.
I still think it’s generally sound advice that, if you’re carrying and a DPS officer requests identification (e.g. drivers license) that you include your CHL too. But the law is improved.
SB 1188 went into effect, bringing Texas out of the dark ages.
Drivers license related laws went into effect. HB 339 increases the number of hours a teenage student must have behind the wheel. I’m not so thrilled about state requirements, but to drive is a privilege. Frankly, I think the more the hours the better anyway… driving is something you need a lot of practical experience with.
SB 1967 changes things for motorcyclists. Now to obtain a “class M” certification on your drivers license you must show successful completion of a motorcycle rider safety course. I think those courses are very good things to have and data has demonstrated that riders that have taken those courses, as opposed to learning to ride by themselves or via family/friends, are safer riders. To arive alive and in one piece is a good thing. Again, driving is a privilege. The helmet law was improved; if I am reading this right, you don’t need to prove the extra health insurance and have the proof sticker any more to ride without a helmet. I think that’s reasonable, just don’t expect anyone else to pay to put your brains back in your skull if you choose to ride without a helmet.