The following are the sections of the Transportation Code that pertain to the moving violations commonly associated with a DWI arrest.

Sec. 545.053.  PASSING TO THE LEFT;  RETURN;  BEING PASSED.  (a)  An operator passing another vehicle:

(1)  shall pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance;  and

(2)  may not move back to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the passed vehicle.

(b)  An operator being passed by another vehicle:

(1)  shall, on audible signal, move or remain to the right in favor of the passing vehicle;  and

(2)  may not accelerate until completely passed by the passing vehicle.

(c)  Subsection (b) does not apply when passing to the right is permitted.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 

Sec. 545.055.  PASSING TO THE LEFT:  PASSING ZONES.  (a)  An operator shall obey the directions of a sign or marking in Subsection (c) or (d) if the sign or marking is in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.

(b)  An operator may not drive on the left side of the roadway in a no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark a no-passing zone.  This subsection does not prohibit a driver from crossing pavement striping, or the center line in a no-passing zone marked by signs only, to make a left turn into or out of an alley or private road or driveway.

(c)  The Texas Transportation Commission, on a state highway under the jurisdiction of the commission, may:

(1)  determine those portions of the highway where passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous;  and

(2)  show the beginning and end of each no-passing zone by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway.

(d)  A local authority, on a highway under the jurisdiction of the local authority, may:

(1)  determine those portions of the highway where passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous;  and

(2)  show the beginning and end of each no-passing zone by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 

Sec. 545.057.  PASSING TO THE RIGHT.  (a)  An operator may pass to the right of another vehicle only if conditions permit safely passing to the right and:

(1)  the vehicle being passed is making or about to make a left turn;  and

(2)  the operator is:

(A)  on a highway having unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles and sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;  or

(B)  on a one-way street or on a roadway having traffic restricted to one direction of movement and the roadway is free from obstructions and wide enough for two or more lines of moving vehicles.

(b)  An operator may not pass to the right by leaving the main traveled portion of a roadway except as provided by Section 545.058.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 

Sec. 545.058.  DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER.  (a)  An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:

(1)  to stop, stand, or park;

(2)  to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic;

(3)  to decelerate before making a right turn;

(4)  to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;

(5)  to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;

(6)  as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device;  or

(7)  to avoid a collision.

(b)  An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the left of the main traveled portion of a divided or limited-access or controlled-access highway if that operation may be done safely, but only:

(1)  to slow or stop when the vehicle is disabled and traffic or other circumstances prohibit the safe movement of the vehicle to the shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of the roadway;

(2)  as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device;  or

(3)  to avoid a collision.

(c)  A limitation in this section on driving on an improved shoulder does not apply to:

(1)  an authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call;

(2)  a police patrol;  or

(3)  a bicycle.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 

Sec. 545.060.  DRIVING ON ROADWAY LANED FOR TRAFFIC.  (a)  An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:

(1)  shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane;  and

(2)  may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely.

(b)  If a roadway is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, an operator on the roadway may not drive in the center lane except:

(1)  if passing another vehicle and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance;

(2)  in preparing to make a left turn;  or

(3)  where the center lane is designated by an official traffic-control device for movement in the direction in which the operator is moving.

(c)  Without regard to the center of the roadway, an official traffic-control device may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or designating lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction.

(d)  Official traffic-control devices prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway may be installed.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 

Sec. 545.062.  FOLLOWING DISTANCE.  (a)  An operator shall, if following another vehicle, maintain an assured clear distance between the two vehicles so that, considering the speed of the vehicles, traffic, and the conditions of the highway, the operator can safely stop without colliding with the preceding vehicle or veering into another vehicle, object, or person on or near the highway.

(b)  An operator of a truck or of a motor vehicle drawing another vehicle who is on a roadway outside a business or residential district and who is following another truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle shall, if conditions permit, leave sufficient space between the vehicles so that a vehicle passing the operator can safely enter and occupy the space.  This subsection does not prohibit a truck or a motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from passing another vehicle.

(c)  An operator on a roadway outside a business or residential district driving in a caravan of other vehicles or a motorcade shall allow sufficient space between the operator and the vehicle preceding the operator so that another vehicle can safely enter and occupy the space.  This subsection does not apply to a funeral procession.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 545.066.  PASSING A SCHOOL BUS;  OFFENSE.  (a)  An operator on a highway, when approaching from either direction a school bus stopped on the highway to receive or discharge a student:

(1)  shall stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual signal as required by Section 547.701;  and

(2)  may not proceed until:

(A)  the school bus resumes motion;

(B)  the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed;  or

(C)  the visual signal is no longer actuated.

(b)  An operator on a highway having separate roadways is not required to stop:

(1)  for a school bus that is on a different roadway;  or

(2)  if on a controlled-access highway, for a school bus that is stopped:

(A)  in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway;  and

(B)  where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

(c)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,250, except that the offense is:

(1)  a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 if the person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section committed within five years of the date on which the most recent preceding offense was committed;

(2)  a Class A misdemeanor if the person causes serious bodily injury to another; or

(3)  a state jail felony if the person has been previously convicted under Subdivision (2).

(d)  The court may order that the driver’s license of a person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section be suspended for not longer than six months beginning on the date of conviction.  In this subsection, “driver’s license” has the meaning assigned by Chapter 521.

(e)  If a person does not pay the previously assessed fine or costs on a conviction under this section, or is determined by the court to have insufficient resources or income to pay a fine or costs on a conviction under this section, the court may order the person to perform community service.  The court shall set the number of hours of service under this subsection.

(f)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  a highway is considered to have separate roadways only if the highway has roadways separated by an intervening space on which operation of vehicles is not permitted, a physical barrier, or a clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic;  and

(2)  a highway is not considered to have separate roadways if the highway has roadways separated only by a left turn lane.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1997;  Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 19.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 661 (H.B. 1174), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 545.101.  TURNING AT INTERSECTION.  (a)  To make a right turn at an intersection, an operator shall make both the approach and the turn as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(b)  To make a left turn at an intersection, an operator shall:

(1)  approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to a vehicle moving in the direction of the vehicle;  and

(2)  after entering the intersection, turn left, leaving the intersection so as to arrive in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of the vehicle on the roadway being entered.

(c)  On a street or roadway designated for two-way traffic, the operator turning left shall, to the extent practicable, turn in the portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

(d)  To turn left, an operator who is approaching an intersection having a roadway designated for one-way traffic and for which signs are posted from a roadway designated for one-way traffic and for which signs are posted shall make the turn as closely as practicable to the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(e)  The Texas Transportation Commission or a local authority, with respect to a highway in its jurisdiction, may:

(1)  authorize the placement of an official traffic-control device in or adjacent to an intersection;  and

(2)  require a course different from that specified in this section for movement by vehicles turning at an intersection.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 545.104.  SIGNALING TURNS;  USE OF TURN SIGNALS.  (a)  An operator shall use the signal authorized by Section 545.106 to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position.

(b)  An operator intending to turn a vehicle right or left shall signal continuously for not less than the last 100 feet of movement of the vehicle before the turn.

(c)  An operator may not light the signals on only one side of the vehicle on a parked or disabled vehicle or use the signals as a courtesy or “do pass” signal to the operator of another vehicle approaching from the rear.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 545.105.  SIGNALING STOPS.  An operator may not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of the vehicle without first giving a stop signal as provided by this subchapter to the operator of a vehicle immediately to the rear when there is an opportunity to give the signal.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 545.151.  VEHICLE APPROACHING OR ENTERING INTERSECTION.  (a)  An operator approaching an intersection:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection:

(A)  in obedience to an official traffic-control device, including a stop sign or yield right-of-way sign;  or

(B)  if a traffic-control signal is present but does not display an indication in any of the signal heads;  and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using a different street or roadway.

(b)  An operator on a single-lane or two-lane street or roadway who approaches an intersection that is not controlled by an official traffic-control device and that is located on a divided highway or on a street or roadway divided into three or more marked traffic lanes:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to a vehicle on the other street or roadway that is within the intersection or approaching the intersection in such proximity as to be a hazard;  and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using a different street or roadway.

(c)  An operator on an unpaved street or roadway approaching an intersection of a paved street or roadway:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to a vehicle on the paved street or roadway that is within the intersection or approaching the intersection in such proximity as to be a hazard;  and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using the paved street or roadway.

(d)  Except as provided in Subsection (e), an operator approaching an intersection of a street or roadway that is not controlled by an official traffic-control device:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from the operator’s right or is approaching the intersection from the operator’s right in a proximity that is a hazard;  and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using a different street or roadway.

(e)  An operator approaching an intersection of a street or roadway from a street or roadway that terminates at the intersection and that is not controlled by an official traffic-control device or controlled as provided by Subsection (b) or (c):

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to another vehicle that has entered the intersection from the other street or roadway or is approaching the intersection on the other street or roadway in a proximity that is a hazard;  and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with the traffic using the other street or roadway.

(f)  An operator who is required by this section to stop and yield the right-of-way at an intersection to another vehicle and who is involved in a collision or interferes with other traffic at the intersection to whom right-of-way is to be given is presumed not to have yielded the right-of-way.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 19.05, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 545.153.  VEHICLE ENTERING STOP OR YIELD INTERSECTION.  (a)  Preferential right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by a stop sign or yield sign as authorized in Section 544.003.

(b)  Unless directed to proceed by a police officer or official traffic-control device, an operator approaching an intersection on a roadway controlled by a stop sign, after stopping as required by Section 544.010, shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another highway or that is approaching so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator’s movement in or across the intersection.

(c)  An operator approaching an intersection on a roadway controlled by a yield sign shall:

(1)  slow to a speed that is reasonable under the existing conditions;  and

(2)  yield the right-of-way to a vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator’s movement in or across the intersection.

(d)  If an operator is required by Subsection (c) to yield and is involved in a collision with a vehicle in an intersection after the operator drove past a yield sign without stopping, the collision is prima facie evidence that the operator failed to yield the right-of-way.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 545.156.  VEHICLE APPROACHED BY AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE.  (a)  On the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible and visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, or of a police vehicle lawfully using only an audible signal, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

(1)  yield the right-of-way;

(2)  immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection;  and

(3)  stop and remain standing until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.

(b)  This section does not exempt the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

Sec. 545.302.  STOPPING, STANDING, OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN CERTAIN PLACES.  (a)  An operator may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle:

(1)  on the roadway side of a vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street;

(2)  on a sidewalk;

(3)  in an intersection;

(4)  on a crosswalk;

(5)  between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within 30 feet of a place on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless the governing body of a municipality designates a different length by signs or markings;

(6)  alongside or opposite a street excavation or obstruction if stopping, standing, or parking the vehicle would obstruct traffic;

(7)  on a bridge or other elevated structure on a highway or in a highway tunnel;

(8)  on a railroad track;  or

(9)  where an official sign prohibits stopping.

(b)  An operator may not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger, stand or park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:

(1)  in front of a public or private driveway;

(2)  within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;

(3)  within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection;

(4)  within 30 feet on the approach to a flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic-control signal located at the side of a roadway;

(5)  within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to a fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to a fire station within 75 feet of the entrance, if the entrance is properly marked with a sign;  or

(6)  where an official sign prohibits standing.

(c)  An operator may not, except temporarily to load or unload merchandise or passengers, park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:

(1)  within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing;  or

(2)  where an official sign prohibits parking.

(d)  A person may stop, stand, or park a bicycle on a sidewalk if the bicycle does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic on the sidewalk.

(e)  A municipality may adopt an ordinance exempting a private vehicle operated by an elevator constructor responding to an elevator emergency from Subsections (a)(1), (a)(5), (a)(6), (a)(9), (b), and (c).

(f)  Subsections (a), (b), and (c) do not apply if the avoidance of conflict with other traffic is necessary or if the operator is complying with the law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic-control device.

(g)  If the governing body of a municipality determines that it is necessary to improve the economic development of the municipality’s central business district and that it will not adversely affect public safety, the governing body may adopt an ordinance regulating the standing, stopping, or parking of a vehicle at a place described by Subsection (a)(1), other than a road or highway in the state highway system, in the central business district of the municipality as defined in the ordinance.  To the extent of any conflict between the ordinance and Subsection (a)(1), the ordinance controls.

Sec. 545.351.  MAXIMUM SPEED REQUIREMENT.  (a)  An operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.

(b)  An operator:

(1)  may not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for actual and potential hazards then existing;  and

(2)  shall control the speed of the vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with another person or vehicle that is on or entering the highway in compliance with law and the duty of each person to use due care.

(c)  An operator shall, consistent with Subsections (a) and (b), drive at an appropriate reduced speed if:

(1)  the operator is approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing;

(2)  the operator is approaching and going around a curve;

(3)  the operator is approaching a hill crest;

(4)  the operator is traveling on a narrow or winding roadway;  and

(5)  a special hazard exists with regard to traffic, including pedestrians, or weather or highway conditions.

Sec. 545.352.  PRIMA FACIE SPEED LIMITS.  (a)  A speed in excess of the limits established by Subsection (b) or under another provision of this subchapter is prima facie evidence that the speed is not reasonable and prudent and that the speed is unlawful.

(b)  Unless a special hazard exists that requires a slower speed for compliance with Section 545.351(b), the following speeds are lawful:

(1)  30 miles per hour in an urban district on a street other than an alley and 15 miles per hour in an alley;

(2)  except as provided by Subdivision (4), 70 miles per hour on a highway numbered by this state or the United States outside an urban district, including a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road;

(3)  except as provided by Subdivision (4), 60 miles per hour on a highway that is outside an urban district and not a highway numbered by this state or the United States;

(4)   outside an urban district:

(A)  60 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus that has passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection under Section 548.201 and is on a highway numbered by the United States or this state, including a farm-to-market road; or

(B)  50 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus that:

(i)  has not passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection under Section 548.201; or

(ii)  is traveling on a highway not numbered by the United States or this state;

(5)  on a beach, 15 miles per hour; or

(6)  on a county road adjacent to a public beach, 15 miles per hour, if declared by the commissioners court of the county.

(c)  The speed limits for a bus or other vehicle engaged in the business of transporting passengers for compensation or hire, for a commercial vehicle used as a highway post office vehicle for highway post office service in the transportation of United States mail, for a light truck, and for a school activity bus are the same as required for a passenger car at the same time and location.

(d)  In this section:

(1)  “Interstate highway” means a segment of the national system of interstate and defense highways that is:

(A)  located in this state;

(B)  officially designated by the Texas Transportation Commission;  and

(C)  approved under Title 23, United States Code.

(2)  “Light truck” means a truck with a manufacturer’s rated carrying capacity of not more than 2,000 pounds, including a pick-up truck, panel delivery truck, and carry-all truck.

(3)  “Urban district” means the territory adjacent to and including a highway, if the territory is improved with structures that are used for business, industry, or dwelling houses and are located at intervals of less than 100 feet for a distance of at least one-quarter mile on either side of the highway.

(e)  An entity that establishes or alters a speed limit under this subchapter shall establish the same speed limit for daytime and nighttime.

Sec. 545.401.  RECKLESS DRIVING;  OFFENSE.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine not to exceed $200;

(2)  confinement in county jail for not more than 30 days;  or

(3)  both the fine and the confinement.

(c)  Notwithstanding Section 542.001, this section applies to:

(1)  a private access way or parking area provided for a client or patron by a business, other than a private residential property or the property of a garage or parking lot for which a charge is made for the storing or parking of motor vehicles;  and

(2)  a highway or other public place.

(d)  Notwithstanding Section 542.004, this section applies to a person, a team, or motor vehicles and other equipment engaged in work on a highway surface.

Sec. 545.404.  UNATTENDED MOTOR VEHICLE.  An operator may not leave the vehicle unattended without:

(1)  stopping the engine;

(2)  locking the ignition;

(3)  removing the key from the ignition;

(4)  setting the parking brake effectively;  and

(5)  if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

Sec. 545.412.  CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY SEAT SYSTEMS;  OFFENSE.

(a)  A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $25 and not more than $250.

(b-1)  Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4, Sec. 69.01(1), eff. September 28, 2011.

(c)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was operating the vehicle in an emergency or for a law enforcement purpose.

(d)  Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01.

(e)  This section does not apply to a person:

(1)  operating a vehicle transporting passengers for hire, excluding third-party transport service providers when transporting clients pursuant to a contract to provide nonemergency Medicaid transportation; or

(2)  transporting a child in a vehicle in which all seating positions equipped with child passenger safety seat systems or safety belts are occupied.

(f)  In this section:

(1)  “Child passenger safety seat system” means an infant or child passenger restraint system that meets the federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(2)  “Passenger vehicle” means a passenger car, light truck, sport utility vehicle, passenger van designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver, truck, or truck tractor.

(3)  “Safety belt” means a lap belt and any shoulder straps included as original equipment on or added to a vehicle.

(4)  “Secured,” in connection with use of a safety belt, means using the lap belt and any shoulder straps according to the instructions of:

(A)  the manufacturer of the vehicle, if the safety belt is original equipment; or

(B)  the manufacturer of the safety belt, if the safety belt has been added to the vehicle.

(g)  A judge, acting under Article 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure, who elects to defer further proceedings and to place a defendant accused of a violation of this section on probation under that article, in lieu of requiring the defendant to complete a driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency, shall require the defendant to attend and present proof that the defendant has successfully completed a specialized driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency under the Texas Driver and Traffic Safety Education Act (Article 4413(29c), Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes) that includes four hours of instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat systems and the wearing of seat belts and emphasizes:

(1)  the effectiveness of child passenger safety seat systems and seat belts in reducing the harm to children being transported in motor vehicles;  and

(2)  the requirements of this section and the penalty for noncompliance.

(h)  Notwithstanding Section 542.402(a), a municipality or county, at the end of the municipality’s or county’s fiscal year, shall send to the comptroller an amount equal to 50 percent of the fines collected by the municipality or the county for violations of this section.  The comptroller shall deposit the amount received to the credit of the tertiary care fund for use by trauma centers.

Sec. 545.413.  SAFETY BELTS;  OFFENSE.

(a)  A person commits an offense if:

(1)  the person:

(A)  is at least 15 years of age;

(B)  is riding in a passenger vehicle while the vehicle is being operated;

(C)  is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt; and

(D)  is not secured by a safety belt; or

(2)  as the operator of a school bus equipped with a safety belt for the operator’s seat, the person is not secured by the safety belt.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  operates a passenger vehicle that is equipped with safety belts; and

(2)  allows a child who is younger than 17 years of age and who is not required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a) to ride in the vehicle without requiring the child to be secured by a safety belt, provided the child is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt.

(b-1)  A person commits an offense if the person allows a child who is younger than 17 years of age and who is not required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a) to ride in a passenger van designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver, without securing the child individually by a safety belt, if the child is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt.

(c)  A passenger vehicle or a seat in a passenger vehicle is considered to be equipped with a safety belt if the vehicle is required under Section 547.601 to be equipped with safety belts.

(d)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $50. An offense under Subsection (b) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $200.

(e)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1)  the person possesses a written statement from a licensed physician stating that for a medical reason the person should not wear a safety belt;

(2)  the person presents to the court, not later than the 10th day after the date of the offense, a statement from a licensed physician stating that for a medical reason the person should not wear a safety belt;

(3)  the person is employed by the United States Postal Service and performing a duty for that agency that requires the operator to service postal boxes from a vehicle or that requires frequent entry into and exit from a vehicle;

(4)  the person is engaged in the actual delivery of newspapers from a vehicle or is performing newspaper delivery duties that require frequent entry into and exit from a vehicle;

(5)  the person is employed by a public or private utility company and is engaged in the reading of meters or performing a similar duty for that company requiring the operator to frequently enter into and exit from a vehicle;

(6)  the person is operating a commercial vehicle registered as a farm vehicle under the provisions of Section 502.433 that does not have a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of 48,000 pounds or more; or

(7)  the person is the operator of or a passenger in a vehicle used exclusively to transport solid waste and performing duties that require frequent entry into and exit from the vehicle.

(f)  The department shall develop and implement an educational program to encourage the wearing of safety belts and to emphasize:

(1)  the effectiveness of safety belts and other restraint devices in reducing the risk of harm to passengers in motor vehicles;  and

(2)  the requirements of this section and the penalty for noncompliance.

(g)  Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01.

(h)  In this section, “passenger vehicle,” “safety belt,” and “secured” have the meanings assigned by Section 545.412.

(i)  A judge, acting under Article 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure, who elects to defer further proceedings and to place a defendant accused of a violation of Subsection (b) on probation under that article, in lieu of requiring the defendant to complete a driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency, shall require the defendant to attend and present proof that the defendant has successfully completed a specialized driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency under the Texas Driver and Traffic Safety Education Act (Article 4413(29c), Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes) that includes four hours of instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat systems and the wearing of seat belts and emphasizes:

(1)  the effectiveness of child passenger safety seat systems and seat belts in reducing the harm to children being transported in motor vehicles;  and

(2)  the requirements of this section and the penalty for noncompliance.

(j)  Notwithstanding Section 542.402(a), a municipality or county, at the end of the municipality’s or county’s fiscal year, shall send to the comptroller an amount equal to 50 percent of the fines collected by the municipality or the county for violations of Subsection (b) of this section.  The comptroller shall deposit the amount received to the credit of the tertiary care fund for use by trauma centers.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.115(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997;  Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 316, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999;  Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 515, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999;  Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 618, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001;  Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 910, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001;  Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1042, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001;  Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003;  Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 431, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 913, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 923, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 974, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1257, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 161, Sec. 20.020, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 545.414.  RIDING IN OPEN BEDS;  OFFENSE.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person operates an open-bed pickup truck or an open flatbed truck or draws an open flatbed trailer when a child younger than 18 years of age is occupying the bed of the truck or trailer.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $200.

(c)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was:

(1)  operating or towing the vehicle in a parade or in an emergency;

(2)  operating the vehicle to transport farmworkers from one field to another field on a farm-to-market road, ranch-to-market road, or county road outside a municipality;

(3)  operating the vehicle on a beach;

(4)  operating a vehicle that is the only vehicle owned or operated by the members of a household;  or

(5)  operating the vehicle in a hayride permitted by the governing body of or a law enforcement agency of each county or municipality in which the hayride will occur.

(d)  Compliance or noncompliance with Subsection (a) is not admissible evidence in a civil trial.

Sec. 545.415.  BACKING A VEHICLE.  (a)  An operator may not back the vehicle unless the movement can be made safely and without interference with other traffic.

(b)  An operator may not back the vehicle on a shoulder or roadway of a limited-access or controlled-access highway.

Sec. 545.420.  RACING ON HIGHWAY.  (a)  A person may not participate in any manner in:

(1)  a race;

(2)  a vehicle speed competition or contest;

(3)  a drag race or acceleration contest;

(4)  a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle;  or

(5)  in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.

(b)  In this section:

(1)  “Drag race” means the operation of:

(A)  two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other;  or

(B)  one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same place to the same place, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles in a specified distance or time.

(2)  “Race” means the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to:

(A)  outgain or outdistance another vehicle or prevent another vehicle from passing;

(B)  arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles;  or

(C)  test the physical stamina or endurance of an operator over a long-distance driving route.

(c)  [Blank]

(d)  Except as provided by Subsections (e)-(h), an offense under Subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(e)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

(1)  the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense under that subsection;  or

(2)  the person, at the time of the offense:

(A)  was operating the vehicle while intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, Penal Code;  or

(B)  was in possession of an open container, as defined by Section 49.031, Penal Code.

(f)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a state jail felony if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted two times of an offense under that subsection.

(g)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that as a result of the offense, an individual suffered bodily injury.

(h)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the second degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that as a result of the offense, an individual suffered serious bodily injury or death.

(i)  This subsection applies only to a motor vehicle used in the commission of an offense under this section that results in an accident with property damage or personal injury.  A peace officer shall require the vehicle to be taken to the nearest licensed vehicle storage facility unless the vehicle is seized as evidence, in which case the vehicle may be taken to a storage facility as designated by the peace officer involved.  Notwithstanding Article 18.23, Code of Criminal Procedure, the owner of a motor vehicle that is removed or stored under this subsection is liable for all removal and storage fees incurred and is not entitled to take possession of the vehicle until those fees are paid.

Sec. 545.422.  CROSSING SIDEWALK OR HIKE AND BIKE TRAIL.  (a)  A person may not drive a motor vehicle on a sidewalk, sidewalk area, or hike and bike trail except on a permanent or authorized temporary driveway.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle on a hike and bike trail in connection with maintenance of the trail.

(c)  In this section, “hike and bike trail” means a trail designed for the exclusive use of pedestrians, bicyclists, or both.

Sec. 547.302.  DUTY TO DISPLAY LIGHTS.  (a)  A vehicle shall display each lighted lamp and illuminating device required by this chapter to be on the vehicle:

(1)  at nighttime;  and

(2)  when light is insufficient or atmospheric conditions are unfavorable so that a person or vehicle on the highway is not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead.

(b)  A signaling device, including a stoplamp or a turn signal lamp, shall be lighted as prescribed by this chapter.

(c)  At least one lighted lamp shall be displayed on each side of the front of a motor vehicle.

(d)  Not more than four of the following may be lighted at one time on the front of a motor vehicle:

(1)  a headlamp required by this chapter;  or

(2)  a lamp, including an auxiliary lamp or spotlamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower.

Sec. 547.322.  TAILLAMPS REQUIRED.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, or vehicle that is towed at the end of a combination of vehicles shall be equipped with at least two taillamps.

(b)  A passenger car or truck that was manufactured or assembled before the model year 1960 shall be equipped with at least one taillamp.

(c)  Taillamps shall be mounted on the rear of the vehicle:

(1)  at a height from 15 to 72 inches;  and

(2)  at the same level and spaced as widely apart as practicable if a vehicle is equipped with more than one lamp.

(d)  A taillamp shall emit a red light plainly visible at a distance of 1,000 feet from the rear of the vehicle.

(e)  If vehicles are traveling in combination, only the taillamps on the rearmost vehicle are required to emit a light for the distance specified in Subsection (d).

(f)  A taillamp or a separate lamp shall be constructed and mounted to emit a white light that:

(1)  illuminates the rear license plate;  and

(2)  makes the plate clearly legible at a distance of 50 feet from the rear.

(g)  A taillamp, including a separate lamp used to illuminate a rear license plate, must emit a light when a headlamp or auxiliary driving lamp is lighted.

Sec. 547.613.  RESTRICTIONS ON WINDOWS.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person commits an offense that is a misdemeanor:

(1)  if the person operates a motor vehicle that has an object or material that is placed on or attached to the windshield or side or rear window and that obstructs or reduces the operator’s clear view;  or

(2)  if a person, including an installer or manufacturer, places on or attaches to the windshield or side or rear window of a motor vehicle a transparent material that alters the color or reduces the light transmission.

(a-1)  A person in the business of placing or attaching transparent material that alters the color or reduces the light transmission to the windshield or side or rear window of a motor vehicle commits a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 if the person:

(1)  places or attaches such transparent material to the windshield or side or rear window of a motor vehicle; and

(2)  does not install a label that complies with Section 547.609 between the transparent material and the windshield or side or rear window of the vehicle, as applicable.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply to:

(1)  a windshield that has a sunscreening device that:

(A)  in combination with the windshield has a light transmission of 25 percent or more;

(B)  in combination with the windshield has a luminous reflectance of 25 percent or less;

(C)  is not red, blue, or amber; and

(D)  does not extend downward beyond the AS-1 line or more than five inches from the top of the windshield, whichever is closer to the top of the windshield;

(2)  a wing vent or a window that is to the left or right of the vehicle operator if the vent or window has a sunscreening device that in combination with the vent or window has:

(A)  a light transmission of 25 percent or more; and

(B)  a luminous reflectance of 25 percent or less;

(2-a)  a side window that is to the rear of the vehicle operator;

(3)  a rear window, if the motor vehicle is equipped with an outside mirror on each side of the vehicle that reflects to the vehicle operator a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet from the rear;

(4)  a rearview mirror;

(5)  an adjustable nontransparent sun visor that is mounted in front of a side window and not attached to the glass;

(6)  a direction, destination, or termination sign on a passenger common carrier motor vehicle, if the sign does not interfere with the vehicle operator’s view of approaching traffic;

(7)  a rear window wiper motor;

(8)  a rear trunk lid handle or hinge;

(9)  a luggage rack attached to the rear trunk;

(10)  a side window that is to the rear of the vehicle operator on a multipurpose vehicle;

(11)  a window that has a United States, state, or local certificate placed on or attached to it as required by law;

(12)  a motor vehicle that is not registered in this state;

(13)  a window that complies with federal standards for window materials, including a factory-tinted or a pretinted window installed by the vehicle manufacturer, or a replacement window meeting the specifications required by the vehicle manufacturer;

(14)  a vehicle that is:

(A)  used regularly to transport passengers for a fee; and

(B)  authorized to operate under license or permit by a local authority;

(15)  a vehicle that is maintained by a law enforcement agency and used for law enforcement purposes; or

(16)  a commercial motor vehicle as defined by Section 644.001.

(c)  A manufacturer shall certify to the department that the sunscreening device made or assembled by the manufacturer complies with the light transmission and luminous reflectance specifications established by Subsection (b) for sunscreening devices in combination with a window.

(d)  The department may determine that a window that has a sunscreening device is exempt under Subsection (b)(2) if the light transmission or luminous reflectance varies by no more than three percent from the standard established in that subsection.

(e)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) that the defendant or a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the violation is required for a medical reason to be shielded from direct rays of the sun.

(f)  It is not an offense under this section for a person to offer for sale or sell a motor vehicle with a windshield or window that does not comply with this section.

(g)  In this section:

(1)  “Installer” means a person who fabricates, laminates, or tempers a safety glazing material to incorporate, during the installation process, the capacity to reflect light or reduce light transmission.

(2)  “Manufacturer” means a person who:

(A)  manufactures or assembles a sunscreening device;  or

(B)  fabricates, laminates, or tempers safety glazing material to incorporate, during the manufacturing process, the capacity to reflect light or reduce light transmission.

Sec. 548.603.  FICTITIOUS OR COUNTERFEIT INSPECTION CERTIFICATE OR INSURANCE DOCUMENT.

(a)  A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  presents to an official of this state or a political subdivision of this state a vehicle inspection report or insurance document knowing that the report or document is counterfeit, tampered with, altered, fictitious, issued for another vehicle, issued for a vehicle failing to meet all emissions inspection requirements, or issued in violation of:

(A)  this chapter, rules adopted under this chapter, or other law of this state; or

(B)  a law of another state, the United States, the United Mexican States, a state of the United Mexican States, Canada, or a province of Canada;

(2)   with intent to circumvent the emissions inspection requirements seeks an inspection of a vehicle at a station not certified to perform an emissions inspection if the person knows that the vehicle is required to be inspected under Section 548.301; or

(3)  knowingly does not comply with an emissions inspection requirement for a vehicle.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  makes or possesses, with the intent to sell, circulate, or pass, a counterfeit vehicle inspection report or insurance document; or

(2)  possesses any part of a stamp, dye, plate, negative, machine, or other device that is used or designated for use in making a counterfeit vehicle inspection report or insurance document.

(c)  The owner of a vehicle commits an offense if the owner knowingly allows the vehicle to be registered using a vehicle inspection report in violation of Subsection (a).

(d)  An offense under Subsection (a) or (c) is a Class B misdemeanor.  An offense under Subsection (b) is a third degree felony unless the person acts with the intent to defraud or harm another person, in which event the offense is a second degree felony.

(e)  In this section:

(1)  “Counterfeit” means an imitation of a document that is printed, engraved, copied, photographed, forged, or manufactured by a person not authorized to take that action under:

(A)  this chapter, rules adopted under this chapter, or other law of this state;  or

(B)  a law of another state, the United States, the United Mexican States, a state of the United Mexican States, Canada, or a province of Canada.

(2)  Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1291, Sec. 50(5), eff. March 1, 2015.

(3)  “Insurance document” means a standard proof of motor vehicle insurance coverage that is:

(A)  in a form prescribed by the Texas Department of Insurance or by a similarly authorized board, agency, or authority of another state;  and

(B)  issued by an insurer or insurer’s agent who is authorized to write motor vehicle insurance coverage.

(4)  “Person” includes an inspection station or inspector.

(f)  Notwithstanding Subsection (c), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) that involves a fictitious vehicle inspection report is a Class B misdemeanor.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.123(j), (k), eff. Sept. 1, 1997;  Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 851, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997;  Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1069, Sec. 16, eff. June 19, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1291 (H.B. 2305), Sec. 44, eff. March 1, 2015.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1291 (H.B. 2305), Sec. 45, eff. March 1, 2015.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1291 (H.B. 2305), Sec. 50(5), eff. March 1, 2015.

Sec. 548.6035.  FRAUDULENT EMISSIONS INSPECTION OF MOTOR VEHICLE.  (a)  A person commits an offense if, in connection with a required emissions inspection of a motor vehicle, the person knowingly:

(1)  submits information to the department’s inspection database stating that a vehicle has passed the applicable inspections or issues a passing vehicle inspection report, if:

(A)  the vehicle does not meet the emissions requirements established by the department; or

(B)  the person has not inspected the vehicle;

(2)  manipulates an emissions test result;

(3)  uses or causes to be used emissions data from another motor vehicle as a substitute for the motor vehicle being inspected; or

(4)  bypasses or circumvents a fuel cap test.

(b)  A first offense under Subsections (a)(1)-(3) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), a second or subsequent offense under Subsections (a)(1)-(3) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(d)  If it is found on trial of an offense under Subsections (a)(1)-(3) that the person committing the offense acted with the intent to defraud or harm another person, the offense is a state jail felony.

(e)  An offense under Subsection (a)(4) is a Class C misdemeanor.

(f)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(4) that the analyzer used by the person developed a functional problem during the emissions inspection of the fuel cap that prevented the person from properly conducting the fuel cap test portion of the emissions inspection.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1202 (S.B. 197), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2011.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1291 (H.B. 2305), Sec. 46, eff. March 1, 2015.

Sec. 548.6036.  ACTIONS OF EMPLOYEE.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), an inspection station is not subject to an administrative or civil penalty or criminal prosecution under this subchapter for an act of an employee of the inspection station if the inspection station requires the employee to sign a written agreement to abide by the provisions of:

(1)  this chapter;

(2)  Chapter 382, Health and Safety Code; and

(3)  all rules adopted under those chapters.

(b)  An inspection station is subject to prosecution under this subchapter for an act of an employee of the inspection station if the inspection station:

(1)  has received written notification from the department or another agency that the employee has committed an offense under this chapter; and

(2)  continues to allow the employee to perform inspections under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1202 (S.B. 197), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 548.604.  PENALTY FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person operates or moves a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, or mobile home, or a combination of those vehicles, that is:

(1)  equipped in violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;  or

(2)  in a mechanical condition that endangers a person, including the operator or an occupant, or property.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200.

Sec. 550.024.  DUTY ON STRIKING UNATTENDED VEHICLE.  (a)  The operator of a vehicle that collides with and damages an unattended vehicle shall immediately stop and:

(1)  locate the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle and give that person the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle;  or

(2)  leave in a conspicuous place in, or securely attach in a plainly visible way to, the unattended vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person violates Subsection (a).  An offense under this section is:

(1)  a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles involved is less than $200;  or

(2)  a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all vehicles involved is $200 or more.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 550.025.  DUTY ON STRIKING STRUCTURE, FIXTURE, OR HIGHWAY LANDSCAPING.  (a)  The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a structure adjacent to a highway or a fixture or landscaping legally on or adjacent to a highway shall:

(1)  take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the accident and of the operator’s name and address and the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving;

(2)  if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to the owner or person in charge of the property; and

(3)  report the accident if required by Section 550.061.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person violates Subsection (a).  An offense under this section is:

(1)  a Class C misdemeanor, if the damage to all fixtures and landscaping is less than $200;  or

(2)  a Class B misdemeanor, if the damage to all fixtures and landscaping is $200 or more.

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