new Texas laws for 2011Every odd numbered year, the Texas Legislature enacts new laws, most of them going into effect on September 1. Below is a summary of the new laws for this year that affect Texas drivers.

MOVE OVER LAW: House Bill 378 alters the Texas Move Over Law to include tow trucks. Now if you see a stopped tow truck by the roadway with its emergency lights over, either slow to 20 mph below the limit or move over to vacate the lane immediately beside the truck. The same thing still applies to law enforcement, fire, or EMT vehicles.

SPEED LIMITS: No more different speed limits for day or night, and no separate speed limit for trucks. The maximum speed limit for highways may be raised to 75 mph, if a study deems that speed safe for a certain area. As always, just obey the posted speed limit.

TOWING BOATS: It’s now illegal to allow a passenger under 18 years of age to ride in a watercraft while it’s being towed down a roadway. If this is something you’ve been doing, you’ll have to find another way to risk your kid’s life now.

HARDSHIP DRIVING LICENSES: If a driver with a hardship driving license is convicted of 2 or more moving violations within a 12-month period, the license will be suspended. Also, the Texas DPS is no longer permitted to waive the driver education requirement for a 60-day hardship license.

SURCHARGES: Drivers who are required to pay surcharges under the Driver Responsibility Program may now pay the entire amount at once. Military personnel actively deployed outside the USA may receive a deferment for any surcharges they are required to play.

UNDER 25 DEFENSIVE DRIVING: The legislature has approved a four-hour driving safety course for drivers under 25 years old who are cited for a moving violation.

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