SPD reminds people about new laws



The Shenandoah Police Department and Municipal Court would like to remind everyone that there are a few important new traffic laws which will take effect on the first of this month. With your help, we can make our roadways safer for everyone. Here is a brief look at some of the new laws that impact Texas drivers:

HB 537 requires all occupants of a vehicle to be secured by a safety belt, no matter their age or where they sit in the vehicle; the law changes the definition of a passenger vehicle to include a passenger van designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers including the driver; the law also prohibits a motorcycle operator from carrying a passenger under the age of 5 unless the child is seated in a sidecar attached to the motorcycle.

SB 61 updates the child passenger safety seat law and requires that any child younger than 8 years old be restrained in an approved child passenger safety seat unless the child is at least 4′ 9″ tall. The law takes effect on Sept. 1, 2009, but tickets for this offense cannot be issued until June 1, 2010. Police officers are allowed to issue a warning.

HB 55 makes it illegal to use a cell phone or wireless communication device in a school zone unless the vehicle is stopped or a hands-free device is used. Cities or counties that want to enforce the 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.

HB 2730 adds an automatic driver’s license suspension to the penalty for driving while intoxicated with a child passenger and an increased suspension period for repeat offenders.
SB 129 allows neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) to operate on roads with a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour or less.

HB 558 allows minors to be charged with public intoxication.

HB 339 prohibits drivers under the age of 17 with restricted licenses from using wireless communications devices, including cell phones and text messaging devices.

For more information concerning other, newly enacted, Texas laws – visit the Texas Department of Public Safety website at

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