As is the case with most states in the union, Texas is always updating its driving and Texas traffic laws as technology, trends and other factors require it to. For 2018, there are a few notable new laws that have taken effect. We’ll also examine one big notable law that took effect in 2017 that is certainly worth reinforcing when it comes to their significance. Here’s a look:
Faster Vehicle Sales?
When a vehicle is sold, it’s standard for this ownership to be transferred from seller to buyer. A new bill, S.B. 1062, aims to speed up bill sales by further streamlining odometer readings. Prior to the bill taking effect, the only way to meet the odometer reading requirement for a sale was to do it on a secure form. Why? Because it prevented any tampering from occurring. After it was done this way, the form then had to be mailed, which could potentially delay the vehicle ownership transfer process by a few days.
Now, it’s no longer a requirement to file the odometer reading this way. Per the bill, electronic forms are the only thing that’s needed today, making for faster transfers. It’s also worth noting that electronic readings may also now be submitted in the case of filing an insurance claim. Sometimes, the waiting is the hardest part – this makes the wait times much more manageable.
No Texting and Driving
Though this involves a law that went into effect in 2017, it’s worth repeating. Texas has joined many other states in the union and has made texting and driving illegal thanks to H.B. 62, which went into effect on September 1, 2017. The statewide ban can result in a misdemeanor offense for those who violate it while operating a vehicle.
According to the law, first-time violators may be fined about $100, with fines doubling for repeat offenders. For context, Texas speeding ticket cost for going one to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit carries a base fine of $97, while speeding 20 miles per hour or more carries a base fine of $200. (We should also note that if you have tickets and points on your license and are interested in getting your insurance premiums decreased, taking courses at a TX traffic school can help.)
In 2015, almost 3,500 died from an accident involving a distracted driver nationwide. What’s more is that nearly 400,000 people were injured because of distracted driving. It’s these facts that are leading many states to take such matters very seriously, and Texas is now no exception. To date, 47 U.S. states ban texting while driving, as does Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
New Weight Limits on Milk Hauling
S.B. 1383 likely doesn’t apply to most Texans, but it’s certainly worth noting when it comes to new driving laws for this year. Specifically, the law has increased the weight limits on the amount of milk that can be hauled in a truck. Prior to 2018, that limit was 80,000 pounds. Now, it’s 90,000 pounds. According to the bill’s sponsor, the last time the milk transportation limits were updated was in 1995, so this was evidently due for a review.
Per the bill, drivers must have a permit to do so. The permit costs $1,200. Again, this won’t apply to the majority of Texas drivers, but we’re guessing that the increased weight limit is welcomed by drivers and grocery stores. For reference, a gallon of milk weighs about 8.6 pounds. That means trucks will be able to carry an additional 1,162.7 gallons with their load.