New state traffic laws were discussed at the Kiwanis Club’s weekly meeting Tuesday.
Senior State Trooper Harpin Meyers, Jr., a 33-year veteran of the Texas Department of Public Safety, talked about new legislation covering issues from using cell phones on school property to a new “slow down and move over” law.
It is now against the law to use a cell phone while driving around any part of school property where school zone lights are flashing, Meyers said.
“The only exception is an emergency when you’re dialing 911 or using a hands-free phone,” he said.
Fines are also increasing for motorists who fail to stop while a school bus has red lights flashing. The fines start at $1,200.
“We have a new program where radio-equipped troopers ride school buses and report these incidences to either marked or unmarked units parked a couple of miles down the road and they snag people who have broken this law,” Meyers said, noting that judges show no mercy to violators in these cases.
The law also covers Texas Department of Transportation vehicles using lights.
“These days, road construction workers have the right-of-way, as well,” Meyers said, adding that fines can be as high as $500. Fines also increased for driving while intoxicated.
“DWI drivers kill more people than homicides every year,” Meyers said.
On July 4, DPS wrote 1,296 DWIs over a four-day period. They arrested 750 people with outstanding warrants, wrote 15,000 speeding citations and 2,200 seat belt violations.
“DPS cares and we want everyone to make it home safely when they travel,” Meyers said.