Two of several traffic bills passed both the Texas House and the Texas Senate. The next step is to sign into law by Governor Abbott.
House Bill 3126 by Rep. Erin Gamez, D-Brownsville, cleans up language related to the left lane being for passing only on Texas roads. Specifically, the bill changes the definition of “passing” in the state transportation code to include the requirement that the driver “return to the original lane of travel.” That, essentially, clears up in many places that the left lane is for passing only, where passing is restricted, and that drivers not only have to safely use the left lane but move back safely. Signs that say, “Left lane for passing only” identify a pass-only lane. After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you’ve safely cleared the vehicle. Impeding the flow of traffic in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.
House Bill 3558 by Rep. Mary Ann Perez, D-Pasadena, clarifies where a driver must stop when approaching a crosswalk. Current Texas codes have a variety of instructions, so Perez’s bill fixes the contradictions by requiring a driver to stop where there is a clearly marked line for stopping. In places where no clear line exists, a driver must stop short of the crosswalk. In the past, police and prosecutors have failed to hold drivers who hit pedestrians walking in crosswalks accountable because they found the law too vague to charge them. Drivers must yield to pedestrians who are crossing in a crosswalk, even when the driver is permitted to make a left or right turn. Drivers must yield to pedestrians when pulling out of or into a driveway or alley. Drivers are not allowed to pass another vehicle that has stopped for a pedestrian crossing the street.