Law:Title 7. Vehicles And Traffic. Subtitle C. Rules Of The Road (Texas)

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Subtitle C. Rules Of The Road

Contents

Chapter 541. Definitions

Subchapter A. Persons And Governmental Authorities

Section  541.001.  Persons.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Operator" means, as used in reference to a vehicle, a person who drives or has physical control of a vehicle.

(2)  "Owner" means, as used in reference to a vehicle, a person who has a property interest in or title to a vehicle. The term:

(A)  includes a person entitled to use and possess a vehicle subject to a security interest; and

(B)  excludes a lienholder and a lessee whose lease is not intended as security.

(3)  "Pedestrian" means a person on foot.

(4)  "Person" means an individual, firm, partnership, association, or corporation.

(5)  "School crossing guard" means a responsible person who is at least 18 years of age and is designated by a local authority to direct traffic in a school crossing zone for the protection of children going to or leaving a school.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.103, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  541.002.  Governmental Authorities.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Department" means the Department of Public Safety acting directly or through its authorized officers and agents.

(2)  "Director" means the public safety director.

(3)  "Local authority" means:

(A)  a county, municipality, or other local entity authorized to enact traffic laws under the laws of this state; or

(B)  a school district created under the laws of this state only when it is designating school crossing guards for schools operated by the district.

(4)  "Police officer" means an officer authorized to direct traffic or arrest persons who violate traffic regulations.

(5)  "State" has the meaning assigned by Section 311.005, Government Code, and includes a province of Canada.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter B. Property Areas

Section  541.101.  Metropolitan Area.

In this subtitle, "metropolitan area" means an area that:

(1)  contains at least one municipality with a population of at least 100,000; and

(2)  includes the adjacent municipalities and unincorporated urban districts.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  541.102.  Restricted Districts.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Business district" means the territory adjacent to and including a highway if buildings used for business or industrial purposes, including a building used as a hotel, bank, office building, public building, or railroad station:

(A)  are located within a 600-foot segment along the highway; and

(B)  within that segment the buildings occupy at least 300 feet of frontage:

(i)  on one side of the highway; or

(ii)  collectively on both sides of the highway.

(2)  "Residence district" means the territory, other than a business district, adjacent to and including a highway, if at least 300 feet of the highway frontage is primarily improved with:

(A)  residences; or

(B)  buildings used for business purposes and residences.

(3)  "Urban district" means the territory adjacent to and including a highway, if the territory:

(A)  is not in a municipality; and

(B)  is improved with structures that are used for business, industry, or dwelling houses and located at intervals of less than 100 feet for a distance of at least one-quarter mile on either side of the highway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter C. Vehicles, Rail Transportation, And Equipment

Section  541.201.  Vehicles.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Authorized emergency vehicle" means:

(A)  a fire department or police vehicle;

(B)  a public or private ambulance operated by a person who has been issued a license by the Texas Department of Health;

(C)  a municipal department or public service corporation emergency vehicle that has been designated or authorized by the governing body of a municipality;

(D)  a private vehicle of a volunteer firefighter or a certified emergency medical services employee or volunteer when responding to a fire alarm or medical emergency;

(E)  an industrial emergency response vehicle, including an industrial ambulance, when responding to an emergency, but only if the vehicle is operated in compliance with criteria in effect September 1, 1989, and established by the predecessor of the Texas Industrial Emergency Services Board of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas;

(F)  a vehicle of a blood bank or tissue bank, accredited or approved under the laws of this state or the United States, when making emergency deliveries of blood, drugs, medicines, or organs; or

(G)  a vehicle used for law enforcement purposes that is owned or leased by a federal governmental entity.

(2)  "Bicycle" means a device that a person may ride and that is propelled by human power and has two tandem wheels at least one of which is more than 14 inches in diameter.

(3)  "Bus" means:

(A)  a motor vehicle used to transport persons and designed to accommodate more than 10 passengers, including the operator; or

(B)  a motor vehicle, other than a taxicab, designed and used to transport persons for compensation.

(4)  "Farm tractor" means a motor vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement to draw an implement of husbandry, including a plow or a mowing machine.

(5)  "House trailer" means a trailer or semitrailer, other than a towable recreational vehicle, that:

(A)  is transportable on a highway in one or more sections;

(B)  is less than 40 feet in length, excluding tow bar, while in the traveling mode;

(C)  is built on a permanent chassis;

(D)  is designed to be used as a dwelling or for commercial purposes if connected to required utilities; and

(E)  includes plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems.

(6)  "Implement of husbandry" means a vehicle, other than a passenger car or truck, that is designed and adapted for use as a farm implement, machinery, or tool for tilling the soil.

(7)  "Light truck" means a truck, including a pickup truck, panel delivery truck, or carryall truck, that has a manufacturer's rated carrying capacity of 2,000 pounds or less.

(8)  "Moped" means a motor-driven cycle that cannot attain a speed in one mile of more than 30 miles per hour and the engine of which:

(A)  cannot produce more than two-brake horsepower; and

(B)  if an internal combustion engine, has a piston displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less and connects to a power drive system that does not require the operator to shift gears.

(9)  "Motorcycle" means a motor vehicle, other than a tractor, that is equipped with a rider's saddle and designed to have when propelled not more than three wheels on the ground.

(10)  "Motor-driven cycle" means a motorcycle equipped with a motor that has an engine piston displacement of 250 cubic centimeters or less. The term does not include an electric bicycle.

(11)  "Motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle or a vehicle that is propelled by electric power from overhead trolley wires. The term does not include an electric bicycle or an electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined by Section 551.201.

(11-a)  "Multifunction school activity bus" means a motor vehicle that was manufactured in compliance with the federal motor vehicle safety standards for school buses in effect on the date of manufacture other than the standards requiring the bus to display alternately flashing red lights and to be equipped with movable stop arms, and that is used to transport preprimary, primary, or secondary students on a school-related activity trip other than on routes to and from school. The term does not include a school bus, a school activity bus, a school-chartered bus, or a bus operated by a mass transit authority.

(12)  "Passenger car" means a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, used to transport persons and designed to accommodate 10 or fewer passengers, including the operator.

(13)  "Pole trailer" means a vehicle without motive power:

(A)  designed to be drawn by another vehicle and secured to the other vehicle by pole, reach, boom, or other security device; and

(B)  ordinarily used to transport a long or irregularly shaped load, including poles, pipes, or structural members, generally capable of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections.

(13-a)  "Police vehicle" means a vehicle used by a peace officer, as defined by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, for law enforcement purposes that:

(A)  is owned or leased by a governmental entity;

(B)  is owned or leased by the police department of a private institution of higher education that commissions peace officers under Section 51.212, Education Code; or

(C)  is:

(i)  a private vehicle owned or leased by the peace officer; and

(ii)  approved for use for law enforcement purposes by the head of the law enforcement agency that employs the peace officer, or by that person's designee, provided that use of the private vehicle must, if applicable, comply with any rule adopted by the commissioners court of a county under Section 170.001, Local Government Code, and that the private vehicle may not be considered an authorized emergency vehicle for exemption purposes under Section 228.054, 284.070, 366.178, or 370.177, Transportation Code, unless the vehicle is marked.

(14)  "Road tractor" means a motor vehicle designed and used to draw another vehicle but not constructed to carry a load independently or a part of the weight of the other vehicle or its load.

(15)  "School activity bus" means a bus designed to accommodate more than 15 passengers, including the operator, that is owned, operated, rented, or leased by a school district, county school, open-enrollment charter school, regional education service center, or shared services arrangement and that is used to transport public school students on a school-related activity trip, other than on routes to and from school.  The term does not include a chartered bus, a bus operated by a mass transit authority, a school bus, or a multifunction school activity bus.

(16)  "School bus" means a motor vehicle that was manufactured in compliance with the federal motor vehicle safety standards for school buses in effect on the date of manufacture and that is used to transport pre-primary, primary, or secondary students on a route to or from school or on a school-related activity trip other than on routes to and from school. The term does not include a school-chartered bus or a bus operated by a mass transit authority.

(17)  "Semitrailer" means a vehicle with or without motive power, other than a pole trailer:

(A)  designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle and to transport persons or property; and

(B)  constructed so that part of the vehicle's weight and load rests on or is carried by another vehicle.

(18)  "Special mobile equipment" means a vehicle that is not designed or used primarily to transport persons or property and that is only incidentally operated on a highway. The term:

(A)  includes ditchdigging apparatus, well boring apparatus, and road construction and maintenance machinery, including an asphalt spreader, bituminous mixer, bucket loader, tractor other than a truck tractor, ditcher, levelling grader, finishing machine, motor grader, road roller, scarifier, earth-moving carryall and scraper, power shovel or dragline, or self-propelled crane and earth-moving equipment; and

(B)  excludes a vehicle that is designed to transport persons or property and that has machinery attached, including a house trailer, dump truck, truck-mounted transit mixer, crane, and shovel.

(19)  "Towable recreational vehicle" means a nonmotorized vehicle that:

(A)  is designed:

(i)  to be towable by a motor vehicle; and

(ii)  for temporary human habitation for uses including recreational camping or seasonal use;

(B)  is permanently built on a single chassis;

(C)  may contain one or more life-support systems; and

(D)  may be used permanently or temporarily for advertising, selling, displaying, or promoting merchandise or services, but is not used for transporting property for hire or for distribution by a private carrier.

(20)  "Trailer" means a vehicle, other than a pole trailer, with or without motive power:

(A)  designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle and to transport persons or property; and

(B)  constructed so that no part of the vehicle's weight and load rests on the motor vehicle.

(21)  "Truck" means a motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily to transport property.

(22)  "Truck tractor" means a motor vehicle designed and used primarily to draw another vehicle but not constructed to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the other vehicle and its load.

(23)  "Vehicle" means a device that can be used to transport or draw persons or property on a highway. The term does not include:

(A)  a device exclusively used on stationary rails or tracks; or

(B)  manufactured housing as that term is defined by Chapter 1201, Occupations Code.

(24)  "Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that:

(A)  is designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power;

(B)  cannot attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour without the application of human power; and

(C)  does not exceed a weight of 100 pounds.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts, 75th Leg., ch. 1020, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 663, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1318, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 14A.833, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 558, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 258, Sec. 4.06, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 923, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1280, Sec. 1.20, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  541.202.  Rail Transportation.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Railroad" means a carrier that operates cars, other than streetcars, on stationary rails to transport persons or property.

(2)  "Railroad train" means a steam engine or electric or other motor with or without an attached car operated on rails, other than a streetcar.

(3)  "Streetcar" means a car, other than a railroad train, used to transport persons or property and operated on rails located primarily within a municipality.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  541.203.  Equipment.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Exhaust emission system" means a motor vehicle engine modification designed to control or reduce the emission of substances from a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine, of a model year of 1968 or later, and installed on or incorporated in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine in compliance with requirements imposed by the Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1857 et seq.) or other applicable law.

(2)  "Metal tire" includes a tire the surface of which in contact with the highway is wholly or partly made of metal or other hard, nonresilient material.

(3)  "Muffler" means a device that reduces noise using:

(A)  a mechanical design, including a series of chambers or baffle plates, to receive exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine; or

(B)  turbine wheels to receive exhaust gas from a diesel engine.

(4)  "Solid tire" includes only a tire that:

(A)  is made of rubber or another resilient material; and

(B)  does not use compressed air to support its load.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter D. Traffic, Traffic Areas, And Traffic Control

Section  541.301.  Traffic.

In this subtitle "traffic" means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, and conveyances, including vehicles and streetcars, singly or together while using a highway for the purposes of travel.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  541.302.  Traffic Areas.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Alley" means a street that:

(A)  is not used primarily for through traffic; and

(B)  provides access to rear entrances of buildings or lots along a street.

(2)  "Crosswalk" means:

(A)  the portion of a roadway, including an intersection, designated as a pedestrian crossing by surface markings, including lines; or

(B)  the portion of a roadway at an intersection that is within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway.

(3)  "Freeway" means a divided, controlled-access highway for through traffic.

(4)  "Freeway main lane" means a freeway lane having an uninterrupted flow of through traffic.

(5)  "Highway or street" means the width between the boundary lines of a publicly maintained way any part of which is open to the public for vehicular travel.

(6)  "Improved shoulder" means a paved shoulder.

(7)  "Laned roadway" means a roadway that is divided into at least two clearly marked lanes for vehicular travel.

(8)  "Limited-access or controlled-access highway" means a highway or roadway to which:

(A)  persons, including owners or occupants of abutting real property, have no right of access; and

(B)  access by persons to enter or exit the highway or roadway is restricted under law except at a place and in the manner determined by the authority that has jurisdiction over the highway or roadway.

(9)  "Private road or driveway" means a privately owned way or place used for vehicular travel and used only by the owner and persons who have the owner's express or implied permission.

(10)  "Ramp" means an interconnecting roadway of a traffic interchange, or a connecting roadway between highways at different levels or between parallel highways, that allows a vehicle to enter or exit a roadway.

(11)  "Roadway" means the portion of a highway, other than the berm or shoulder, that is improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel. If a highway includes at least two separate roadways, the term applies to each roadway separately.

(12)  "Safety zone" means the area in a roadway officially designated for exclusive pedestrian use and that is protected or so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to be plainly visible at all times while so designated.

(13)  "School crossing zone" means a reduced-speed zone designated on a street by a local authority to facilitate safe crossing of the street by children going to or leaving a public or private elementary or secondary school during the time the reduced speed limit applies.

(14)  "School crosswalk" means a crosswalk designated on a street by a local authority to facilitate safe crossing of the street by children going to or leaving a public or private elementary or secondary school.

(15)  "Shoulder" means the portion of a highway that is:

(A)  adjacent to the roadway;

(B)  designed or ordinarily used for parking;

(C)  distinguished from the roadway by different design, construction, or marking; and

(D)  not intended for normal vehicular travel.

(16)  "Sidewalk" means the portion of a street that is:

(A)  between a curb or lateral line of a roadway and the adjacent property line; and

(B)  intended for pedestrian use.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  541.303.  Intersection.

(a) In this subtitle, "intersection" means the common area at the junction of two highways, other than the junction of an alley and a highway.

(b)  The dimensions of an intersection include only the common area:

(1)  within the connection of the lateral curb lines or, in the absence of curb lines, the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of intersecting highways that join at approximate right angles; or

(2)  at the place where vehicles could collide if traveling on roadways of intersecting highways that join at any angle other than an approximate right angle.

(c)  Each junction of each roadway of a highway that includes two roadways at least 30 feet apart with the roadway of an intersecting highway, including each roadway of an intersecting highway that includes two roadways at least 30 feet apart, is a separate intersection.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  541.304.  Traffic Control.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Official traffic-control device" means a sign, signal, marking, or device that is:

(A)  consistent with this subtitle;

(B)  placed or erected by a public body or officer having jurisdiction; and

(C)  used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic.

(2)  "Railroad sign or signal" means a sign, signal, or device erected by a railroad, public body, or public officer to notify traffic of railroad tracks or an approaching railroad train.

(3)  "Traffic-control signal" means a manual, electric, or mechanical device that alternately directs traffic to stop and to proceed.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Subchapter E. Miscellaneous Terms

Section  541.401.  Miscellaneous Terms.

In this subtitle:

(1)  "Daytime" means the period beginning one-half hour before sunrise and ending one-half hour after sunset.

(2)  "Explosive" means a chemical compound or mechanical mixture that:

(A)  is commonly intended for use or used to produce an explosion; and

(B)  contains ingredients, which may include oxidizing or combustive units, in packing, proportions, or quantities that, if ignited by fire, friction, concussion, percussion, or detonator, could suddenly generate highly heated gases that could damage surrounding objects or destroy life or limb.

(3)  "Flammable liquid" means a liquid that has a flash point of not more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit as determined by a tagliabue or equivalent closed-cup test device.

(4)  "Gross vehicle weight" means the weight of a vehicle and the weight of its load.

(5)  "Nighttime" means the period beginning one-half hour after sunset and ending one-half hour before sunrise.

(6)  "Park" or "parking" means to stand an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, other than temporarily while loading or unloading merchandise or passengers.

(7)  "Personal injury" means an injury to any part of the human body and that requires treatment.

(8)  "Right-of-way" means the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian that is approaching from a direction, at a speed, and within a proximity that could cause a collision unless one grants precedence to the other.

(9)  "Stand" or "standing" means to halt an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, other than temporarily while receiving or discharging passengers.

(10)  "Stop" or "stopping" means:

(A)  when required, to completely cease movement; and

(B)  when prohibited, to halt, including momentarily halting, an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, unless necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or to comply with the directions of a police officer or a traffic-control sign or signal.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.


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