Law:Title 7. Vehicles And Traffic. Subtitle C. Rules Of The Road from Chapter 545. Operation And Movement Of Vehicles (Texas)

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Subtitle C. Rules Of The Road

Contents

Chapter 545. Operation And Movement Of Vehicles

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section 545.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Pass" or "passing" used in reference to a vehicle means to overtake and proceed past another vehicle moving in the same direction as the passing vehicle or to attempt that maneuver.

(2)  "School bus" includes a multifunction school activity bus.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 923, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  545.002.  Operator.

In this chapter, a reference to an operator includes a reference to the vehicle operated by the operator if the reference imposes a duty or provides a limitation on the movement or other operation of that vehicle.

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



Subchapter B. Driving On Right Side Of Roadway And Passing

Section  545.051.  Driving On Right Side Of Roadway.

(a) An operator on a roadway of sufficient width shall drive on the right half of the roadway, unless:

(1)  the operator is passing another vehicle;

(2)  an obstruction necessitates moving the vehicle left of the center of the roadway and the operator yields the right-of-way to a vehicle that:

(A)  is moving in the proper direction on the unobstructed portion of the roadway; and

(B)  is an immediate hazard;

(3)  the operator is on a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic; or

(4)  the operator is on a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.

(b)  An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is:

(1)  passing another vehicle; or

(2)  preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(c)  An operator on a roadway having four or more lanes for moving vehicles and providing for two-way movement of vehicles may not drive left of the center line of the roadway except:

(1)  as authorized by an official traffic-control device designating a specified lane to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by a vehicle not otherwise permitted to use the lane;

(2)  under the conditions described by Subsection (a)(2); or

(3)  in crossing the center line to make a left turn into or out of an alley, private road, or driveway.

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



Section  545.052.  Driving Past Vehicle Moving In Opposite Direction.

An operator moving in the opposite direction of the movement of another operator shall:

(1)  move to or remain to the right; and

(2)  on a roadway wide enough for not more than one line of vehicle movement in each direction, give the other operator:

(A)  at least one-half of the main traveled portion of the roadway; or

(B)  if complying with Paragraph (A) is not possible, as much of the roadway as possible.

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



Section  545.053.  Passing To The Left; Return; Being Passed.

(a) An operator passing another vehicle:

(1)  shall pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance; and

(2)  may not move back to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the passed vehicle.

(b)  An operator being passed by another vehicle:

(1)  shall, on audible signal, move or remain to the right in favor of the passing vehicle; and

(2)  may not accelerate until completely passed by the passing vehicle.

(c)  Subsection (b) does not apply when passing to the right is permitted.

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



Section  545.054.  Passing To The Left: Safe Distance.

(a) An operator may not drive on the left side of the center of the roadway in passing another vehicle unless:

(1)  driving on the left side of the center of the roadway is authorized by this subtitle; and

(2)  the left side is clearly visible and free of approaching traffic for a distance sufficient to permit passing without interfering with the operation of the passed vehicle or a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

(b)  An operator passing another vehicle shall return to an authorized lane of travel:

(1)  before coming within 200 feet of an approaching vehicle, if a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction is used in passing; or otherwise

(2)  as soon as practicable.

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



Section  545.055.  Passing To The Left: Passing Zones.

(a) An operator shall obey the directions of a sign or marking in Subsection (c) or (d) if the sign or marking is in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.

(b)  An operator may not drive on the left side of the roadway in a no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark a no-passing zone. This subsection does not prohibit a driver from crossing pavement striping, or the center line in a no-passing zone marked by signs only, to make a left turn into or out of an alley or private road or driveway.

(c)  The Texas Transportation Commission, on a state highway under the jurisdiction of the commission, may:

(1)  determine those portions of the highway where passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous; and

(2)  show the beginning and end of each no-passing zone by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway.

(d)  A local authority, on a highway under the jurisdiction of the local authority, may:

(1)  determine those portions of the highway where passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous; and

(2)  show the beginning and end of each no-passing zone by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway.

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



Section  545.056.  Driving To Left Of Center Of Roadway: Limitations Other Than Passing.

(a) An operator may not drive to the left side of the roadway if the operator is:

(1)  approaching within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad grade crossing in a municipality;

(2)  approaching within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad grade crossing outside a municipality and the intersection or crossing is shown by a sign or marking in accordance with Section 545.055;

(3)  approaching within 100 feet of a bridge, viaduct, or tunnel; or

(4)  awaiting access to a ferry operated by the Texas Transportation Commission.

(b)  The limitations in Subsection (a) do not apply:

(1)  on a one-way roadway; or

(2)  to an operator turning left into or from an alley or private road or driveway.

(c)  The Texas Transportation Commission shall post signs along the approach to a ferry operated by the commission notifying operators that passing is prohibited if there is a standing line of vehicles awaiting access to the ferry.

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



Section  545.057.  Passing To The Right.

(a) An operator may pass to the right of another vehicle only if conditions permit safely passing to the right and:

(1)  the vehicle being passed is making or about to make a left turn; and

(2)  the operator is:

(A)  on a highway having unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles and sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction; or

(B)  on a one-way street or on a roadway having traffic restricted to one direction of movement and the roadway is free from obstructions and wide enough for two or more lines of moving vehicles.

(b)  An operator may not pass to the right by leaving the main traveled portion of a roadway except as provided by Section 545.058.

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



Section  545.058.  Driving On Improved Shoulder.

(a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:

(1)  to stop, stand, or park;

(2)  to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic;

(3)  to decelerate before making a right turn;

(4)  to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;

(5)  to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;

(6)  as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or

(7)  to avoid a collision.

(b)  An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the left of the main traveled portion of a divided or limited-access or controlled-access highway if that operation may be done safely, but only:

(1)  to slow or stop when the vehicle is disabled and traffic or other circumstances prohibit the safe movement of the vehicle to the shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of the roadway;

(2)  as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device; or

(3)  to avoid a collision.

(c)  A limitation in this section on driving on an improved shoulder does not apply to:

(1)  an authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call;

(2)  a police patrol; or

(3)  a bicycle.

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



Section  545.059.  One-way Roadways And Rotary Traffic Islands.

(a) The Texas Transportation Commission may designate a highway or separate roadway under the jurisdiction of the commission for one-way traffic and shall erect appropriate signs giving notice of the designation.

(b)  On a roadway that is designated and on which signs are erected for one-way traffic, an operator shall drive only in the direction indicated.

(c)  An operator moving around a rotary traffic island shall drive only to the right of the island.

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



Section  545.060.  Driving On Roadway Laned For Traffic.

(a) An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:

(1)  shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane; and

(2)  may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely.

(b)  If a roadway is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, an operator on the roadway may not drive in the center lane except:

(1)  if passing another vehicle and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance;

(2)  in preparing to make a left turn; or

(3)  where the center lane is designated by an official traffic-control device for movement in the direction in which the operator is moving.

(c)  Without regard to the center of the roadway, an official traffic-control device may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or designating lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction.

(d)  Official traffic-control devices prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway may be installed.

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



Section  545.061.  Driving On Multiple-lane Roadway.

On a roadway divided into three or more lanes and providing for one-way movement of traffic, an operator entering a lane of traffic from a lane to the right shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle entering the same lane of traffic from a lane to the left.

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



Section  545.062.  Following Distance.

(a) An operator shall, if following another vehicle, maintain an assured clear distance between the two vehicles so that, considering the speed of the vehicles, traffic, and the conditions of the highway, the operator can safely stop without colliding with the preceding vehicle or veering into another vehicle, object, or person on or near the highway.

(b)  An operator of a truck or of a motor vehicle drawing another vehicle who is on a roadway outside a business or residential district and who is following another truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle shall, if conditions permit, leave sufficient space between the vehicles so that a vehicle passing the operator can safely enter and occupy the space. This subsection does not prohibit a truck or a motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from passing another vehicle.

(c)  An operator on a roadway outside a business or residential district driving in a caravan of other vehicles or a motorcade shall allow sufficient space between the operator and the vehicle preceding the operator so that another vehicle can safely enter and occupy the space. This subsection does not apply to a funeral procession.

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



Section  545.063.  Driving On Divided Highway.

(a) On a highway having two or more roadways separated by a space, physical barrier, or clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic, an operator shall drive on the right roadway unless directed or permitted to use another roadway by an official traffic-control device or police officer.

(b)  An operator may not drive over, across, or in a dividing space, physical barrier, or section constructed to impede vehicular traffic except:

(1)  through an opening in the physical barrier or dividing section or space; or

(2)  at a crossover or intersection established by a public authority.

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



Section  545.064.  Restricted Access.

An operator may not drive on or from a limited-access or controlled-access roadway except at an entrance or exit that is established by a public authority.

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



Section  545.065.  State And Local Regulation Of Limited-access Or Controlled-access Highways.

(a) The Texas Transportation Commission by resolution or order recorded in its minutes may prohibit the use of a limited-access or controlled-access highway under the jurisdiction of the commission by a parade, funeral procession, pedestrian, bicycle, electric bicycle, motor-driven cycle, or nonmotorized traffic.

(b)  If the commission adopts a rule under Subsection (a), the commission shall erect and maintain official traffic-control devices on the portions of the limited-access or controlled-access highway to which the rule applies.

(c)  A local authority by ordinance may prohibit the use of a limited-access or controlled-access roadway under the jurisdiction of the authority by a parade, funeral procession, pedestrian, bicycle, electric bicycle, motor-driven cycle, or nonmotorized traffic.

(d)  If a local authority adopts an ordinance under Subsection (c), the authority shall erect and maintain official traffic-control devices on the portions of the limited-access or controlled-access roadway to which the ordinance applies.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  545.0651.   Restriction On Use Of Highway.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Commission" means the Texas Transportation Commission.

(1-a)  "Department" means the Texas Department of Transportation.

(2)  "Highway" means a public highway that:

(A)  is in the designated state highway system;

(B)  is designated a controlled access facility; and

(C)  has a minimum of three travel lanes, excluding access or frontage roads, in each direction of traffic that may be part of a single roadway or may be separate roadways that are constructed as an upper and lower deck.

(b)  The commission by order may restrict, by class of vehicle, through traffic to two or more designated lanes of a highway. If the lanes to be restricted by the commission are located within a municipality, the commission shall consult with the municipality before adopting an order under this section. A municipality by ordinance may restrict, by class of vehicle, through traffic to two or more designated lanes of a highway in the municipality.

(c)  An order or ordinance under Subsection (b) must allow a restricted vehicle to use any lane of the highway to pass another vehicle and to enter and exit the highway.

(d)  Before adopting an ordinance, a municipality shall submit to the department a description of the proposed restriction. The municipality may not enforce the restrictions unless the department's executive director or the executive director's designee has approved the restrictions.

(e)  Department approval under Subsection (d) must:

(1)  be based on a traffic study performed by the department to evaluate the effect of the proposed restriction; and

(2)  to the greatest extent practicable, ensure a systems approach to preclude the designation of inconsistent lane restrictions among adjacent municipalities.

(f)  The department's executive director or the executive director's designee may suspend or rescind approval of any restrictions approved under Subsection (d) for one or more of the following reasons:

(1)  a change in pavement conditions;

(2)  a change in traffic conditions;

(3)  a geometric change in roadway configuration;

(4)  construction or maintenance activity; or

(5)  emergency or incident management.

(g)  The department shall erect and maintain official traffic control devices necessary to implement and enforce an order adopted or an ordinance adopted and approved under this section. A restriction approved under this section may not be enforced until the appropriate traffic control devices are in place.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 384, Sec. 1, eff. May 28, 1997. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1049, Sec. 9, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  545.0652.  County Restriction On Use Of Highway.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Department" means the Texas Department of Transportation.

(2)  "Highway" means a public roadway that:

(A)  is in the designated state highway system;

(B)  is designated a controlled access facility; and

(C)  has a minimum of three travel lanes, excluding access or frontage roads, in each direction of traffic.

(b)  A county commissioners court by order may restrict, by class of vehicle, through traffic to two or more designated lanes of a highway located in the county and outside the jurisdiction of a municipality.

(c)  An order under Subsection (b) must allow a restricted vehicle to use any lane of the highway to pass another vehicle and to enter and exit the highway.

(d)  Before issuing an order under this section, the commissioners court shall submit to the department a description of the proposed restriction. The commissioners court may not enforce the restrictions unless:

(1)  the department's executive director or the executive director's designee has approved the restrictions; and

(2)  the appropriate traffic-control devices are in place.

(e)  Department approval under Subsection (d) must to the greatest extent practicable ensure a systems approach to preclude the designation of inconsistent lane restrictions among adjacent counties or municipalities.

(f)  The department's executive director or the executive director's designee may suspend or rescind approval under this section for one or more of the following reasons:

(1)  a change in pavement conditions;

(2)  a change in traffic conditions;

(3)  a geometric change in roadway configuration;

(4)  construction or maintenance activity; or

(5)  emergency or incident management.

(g)  The department shall erect and maintain official traffic-control devices necessary to implement and enforce an order issued and approved under this section.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 846, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  545.066.  Passing A School Bus; Offense.

(a) An operator on a highway, when approaching from either direction a school bus stopped on the highway to receive or discharge a student:

(1)  shall stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual signal as required by Section 547.701; and

(2)  may not proceed until:

(A)  the school bus resumes motion;

(B)  the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or

(C)  the visual signal is no longer actuated.

(b)  An operator on a highway having separate roadways is not required to stop:

(1)  for a school bus that is on a different roadway; or

(2)  if on a controlled-access highway, for a school bus that is stopped:

(A)  in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway; and

(B)  where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

(c)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $200 or more than $1,000, except that the offense is:

(1)  a Class A misdemeanor if the person causes serious bodily injury to another; or

(2)  a state jail felony if the person has been previously convicted under Subdivision (1).

(d)  The court may order that the driver's license of a person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section be suspended for not longer than six months beginning on the date of conviction. In this subsection, "driver's license" has the meaning assigned by Chapter 521.

(e)  If a person does not pay the previously assessed fine or costs on a conviction under this section, or is determined by the court to have insufficient resources or income to pay a fine or costs on a conviction under this section, the court may order the person to perform community service. The court shall set the number of hours of service under this subsection.

(f)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  a highway is considered to have separate roadways only if the highway has roadways separated by an intervening space on which operation of vehicles is not permitted, a physical barrier, or a clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic; and

(2)  a highway is not considered to have separate roadways if the highway has roadways separated only by a left turn lane.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 19.06(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Subchapter C. Turning And Signals For Stopping And Turning

Section  545.101.  Turning At Intersection.

(a) To make a right turn at an intersection, an operator shall make both the approach and the turn as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(b)  To make a left turn at an intersection, an operator shall:

(1)  approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to a vehicle moving in the direction of the vehicle; and

(2)  after entering the intersection, turn left, leaving the intersection so as to arrive in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of the vehicle on the roadway being entered.

(c)  On a street or roadway designated for two-way traffic, the operator turning left shall, to the extent practicable, turn in the portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

(d)  To turn left, an operator who is approaching an intersection having a roadway designated for one-way traffic and for which signs are posted from a roadway designated for one-way traffic and for which signs are posted shall make the turn as closely as practicable to the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(e)  The Texas Transportation Commission or a local authority, with respect to a highway in its jurisdiction, may:

(1)  authorize the placement of an official traffic-control device in or adjacent to an intersection; and

(2)  require a course different from that specified in this section for movement by vehicles turning at an intersection.

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



Section  545.102.  Turning On Curve Or Crest Of Grade.

An operator may not turn the vehicle to move in the opposite direction when approaching a curve or the crest of a grade if the vehicle is not visible to the operator of another vehicle approaching from either direction within 500 feet.

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



Section  545.103.  Safely Turning.

An operator may not turn the vehicle to enter a private road or driveway, otherwise turn the vehicle from a direct course, or move right or left on a roadway unless movement can be made safely.

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



Section  545.104.  Signaling Turns; Use Of Turn Signals.

(a) An operator shall use the signal authorized by Section 545.106 to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position.

(b)  An operator intending to turn a vehicle right or left shall signal continuously for not less than the last 100 feet of movement of the vehicle before the turn.

(c)  An operator may not light the signals on only one side of the vehicle on a parked or disabled vehicle or use the signals as a courtesy or "do pass" signal to the operator of another vehicle approaching from the rear.

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



Section  545.105.  Signaling Stops.

An operator may not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of the vehicle without first giving a stop signal as provided by this subchapter to the operator of a vehicle immediately to the rear when there is an opportunity to give the signal.

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



Section  545.106.  Signals By Hand And Arm Or By Signal Lamp.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an operator required to give a stop or turn signal shall do so by:

(1)  using the hand and arm; or

(2)  lighting signal lamps approved by the department.

(b)  A motor vehicle in use on a highway shall be equipped with signal lamps, and the required signal shall be given by lighting the lamps, if:

(1)  the distance from the center of the top of the steering post to the left outside limit of the body, cab, or load of the motor vehicle is more than two feet; or

(2)  the distance from the center of the top of the steering post to the rear limit of the body or load, including the body or load of a combination of vehicles, is more than 14 feet.

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



Section  545.107.  Method Of Giving Hand And Arm Signals.

An operator who is permitted to give a hand and arm signal shall give the signal from the left side of the vehicle as follows:

(1)  to make a left turn signal, extend hand and arm horizontally;

(2)  to make a right turn signal, extend hand and arm upward, except that a bicycle operator may signal from the right side of the vehicle with the hand and arm extended horizontally; and

(3)  to stop or decrease speed, extend hand and arm downward.

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



Subchapter D. Right-of-way

Section  545.151.  Vehicle Approaching Or Entering Intersection.

(a) An operator approaching an intersection:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection:

(A)  in obedience to an official traffic-control device, including a stop sign or yield right-of-way sign; or

(B)  if a traffic-control signal is present but does not display an indication in any of the signal heads; and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using a different street or roadway.

(b)  An operator on a single-lane or two-lane street or roadway who approaches an intersection that is not controlled by an official traffic-control device and that is located on a divided highway or on a street or roadway divided into three or more marked traffic lanes:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to a vehicle on the other street or roadway that is within the intersection or approaching the intersection in such proximity as to be a hazard; and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using a different street or roadway.

(c)  An operator on an unpaved street or roadway approaching an intersection of a paved street or roadway:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to a vehicle on the paved street or roadway that is within the intersection or approaching the intersection in such proximity as to be a hazard; and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using the paved street or roadway.

(d)  Except as provided in Subsection (e), an operator approaching an intersection of a street or roadway that is not controlled by an official traffic-control device:

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from the operator's right or is approaching the intersection from the operator's right in a proximity that is a hazard; and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with traffic using a different street or roadway.

(e)  An operator approaching an intersection of a street or roadway from a street or roadway that terminates at the intersection and that is not controlled by an official traffic-control device or controlled as provided by Subsection (b) or (c):

(1)  shall stop, yield, and grant immediate use of the intersection to another vehicle that has entered the intersection from the other street or roadway or is approaching the intersection on the other street or roadway in a proximity that is a hazard; and

(2)  after stopping, may proceed when the intersection can be safely entered without interference or collision with the traffic using the other street or roadway.

(f)  An operator who is required by this section to stop and yield the right-of-way at an intersection to another vehicle and who is involved in a collision or interferes with other traffic at the intersection to whom right-of-way is to be given is presumed not to have yielded the right-of-way.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 19.05, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  545.152.  Vehicle Turning Left.

To turn left at an intersection or into an alley or private road or driveway, an operator shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.

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



Section  545.153.  Vehicle Entering Stop Or Yield Intersection. (a)

Preferential right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by a stop sign or yield sign as authorized in Section 544.003.

(b)  Unless directed to proceed by a police officer or official traffic-control device, an operator approaching an intersection on a roadway controlled by a stop sign, after stopping as required by Section 544.010, shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another highway or that is approaching so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator's movement in or across the intersection.

(c)  An operator approaching an intersection on a roadway controlled by a yield sign shall:

(1)  slow to a speed that is reasonable under the existing conditions; and

(2)  yield the right-of-way to a vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator's movement in or across the intersection.

(d)  If an operator is required by Subsection (c) to yield and is involved in a collision with a vehicle in an intersection after the operator drove past a yield sign without stopping, the collision is prima facie evidence that the operator failed to yield the right-of-way.

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



Section  545.154.  Vehicle Entering Or Leaving Limited-access Or Controlled-access Highway.

An operator on an access or feeder road of a limited-access or controlled-access highway shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle entering or about to enter the access or feeder road from the highway or leaving or about to leave the access or feeder road to enter the highway.

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



Section  545.155.  Vehicle Entering Highway From Private Road Or Driveway.

An operator about to enter or cross a highway from an alley, building, or private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching on the highway to be entered.

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



Section  545.156.  Vehicle Approached By Authorized Emergency Vehicle.

(a) On the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible and visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, or of a police vehicle lawfully using only an audible signal, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

(1)  yield the right-of-way;

(2)  immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection; and

(3)  stop and remain standing until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.

(b)  This section does not exempt the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

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



Section  545.157.  Passing Authorized Emergency Vehicle.

(a) On approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

(1)  vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle when driving on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle; or

(2)  slow to a speed not to exceed:

(A)  20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or

(B)  five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.

(b)  A violation of this section is:

(1)  a misdemeanor punishable under Section 542.401;

(2)  a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 if the violation results in property damage; or

(3)  a Class B misdemeanor if the violation results in bodily injury.

(c)  If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 327, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Subchapter E. Streetcars

Section  545.201.  Passing Streetcar To Left.

(a) An operator may not pass to the left or drive on the left side of a streetcar moving in the same direction, even if the streetcar is temporarily at rest, unless the operator:

(1)  is directed to do so by a police officer;

(2)  is on a one-way street; or

(3)  is on a street on which the location of the tracks prevents compliance with this section.

(b)  An operator when lawfully passing to the left of a streetcar that has stopped to receive or discharge a passenger:

(1)  shall reduce speed;

(2)  may proceed only on exercising due caution for pedestrians; and

(3)  shall accord a pedestrian the right-of-way as required by this subtitle.

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



Section  545.202.  Passing Streetcar To Right.

(a) An operator passing to the right of a streetcar stopped or about to stop to receive or discharge a passenger shall:

(1)  stop the vehicle at least five feet to the rear of the nearest running board or door of the streetcar; and

(2)  remain standing until all passengers have entered the streetcar or, on leaving, have reached a place of safety.

(b)  An operator is not required to stop before passing a streetcar to the right if a safety zone has been established and may proceed past the streetcar at a reasonable speed and with due caution for the safety of pedestrians.

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



Section  545.203.  Driving On Streetcar Tracks.

(a) An operator on a streetcar track in front of a streetcar shall move the operator's vehicle off the track as soon as possible after a signal from the operator of the streetcar.

(b)  An operator may not drive on or cross a streetcar track in an intersection in front of a streetcar crossing the intersection.

(c)  An operator who is passing a streetcar may not turn in front of the streetcar so as to interfere with or impede its movement.

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



Section  545.204.  Streetcar Approached By Authorized Emergency Vehicle.

(a) On the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible and visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, or of a police vehicle lawfully using only an audible signal, the operator of a streetcar shall immediately stop the streetcar clear of any intersection and remain there until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

(b)  This section does not exempt the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

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



Section  545.205.  Crossing Fire Hose.

An operator of a streetcar may not, without the consent of the fire department official in command, drive over an unprotected hose of a fire department when the hose is on a streetcar track and intended for use at a fire or alarm of fire.

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



Section  545.206.  Obstruction Of Operator's View Or Driving Mechanism.

A passenger in a streetcar may not ride in a position that interferes with the operator's view ahead or to the side or with control over the driving mechanism of the streetcar.

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



Subchapter F. Special Stops And Speed Restrictions

Section  545.251.  Obedience To Signal Indicating Approach Of Train.

(a) An operator approaching a railroad grade crossing shall stop not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail if:

(1)  a clearly visible railroad signal warns of the approach of a railroad train;

(2)  a crossing gate is lowered, or a flagger warns of the approach or passage of a train;

(3)  a railroad engine approaching within approximately 1,500 feet of the highway crossing emits a signal audible from that distance and the engine is an immediate hazard because of its speed or proximity to the crossing;

(4)  an approaching railroad train is plainly visible to the operator and is in hazardous proximity to the crossing; or

(5)  the operator is required to stop by:

(A)  other law;

(B)  a rule adopted under a statute;

(C)  an official traffic-control device; or

(D)  a traffic-control signal.

(b)  An operator of a vehicle required by Subsection (a) to stop shall remain stopped until permitted to proceed and it is safe to proceed.

(c)  An operator of a vehicle who approaches a railroad grade crossing equipped with railroad crossbuck signs without automatic, electric, or mechanical signal devices, crossing gates, or a flagger warning of the approach or passage of a train shall yield the right-of-way to a train in hazardous proximity to the crossing, and proceed at a speed that is reasonable for the existing conditions. If required for safety, the operator shall stop at a clearly marked stop line before the grade crossing or, if no stop line exists, not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail.

(d)  An operator commits an offense if the operator drives around, under, or through a crossing gate or a barrier at a railroad crossing while the gate or barrier is closed, being closed, or being opened.

(e)  In a prosecution under this section, proof that at the time of the offense a train was in hazardous proximity to the crossing and that the train was plainly visible to the operator is prima facie evidence that it was not safe for the operator to proceed.

(f)  An offense under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.107(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1097, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.252.  All Vehicles To Stop At Certain Railroad Grade Crossings.

(a) The Texas Department of Transportation or a local authority, with respect to a highway in its jurisdiction, may:

(1)  designate a railroad grade crossing as particularly dangerous; and

(2)  erect a stop sign or other official traffic-control device at the grade crossing.

(b)  An operator approaching a stop sign or other official traffic-control device that requires a stop and that is erected under Subsection (a) shall stop not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad and may proceed only with due care.

(c)  The costs of installing and maintaining a mechanically operated grade crossing safety device, gate, sign, or signal erected under this section shall be apportioned and paid on the same percentage ratio and in the same proportionate amounts by this state and all participating political subdivisions of this state as costs are apportioned and paid between the state and the United States.

(d)  An offense under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.107(b), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.253.  Buses To Stop At All Railroad Grade Crossings.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the operator of a motor bus carrying passengers for hire, before crossing a railroad grade crossing:

(1)  shall stop the vehicle not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad;

(2)  while stopped, shall listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and signals indicating the approach of a train; and

(3)  may not proceed until it is safe to do so.

(b)  After stopping as required by Subsection (a), an operator described by Subsection (a) shall proceed without manually shifting gears while crossing the track.

(c)  A vehicle is not required to stop at the crossing if a police officer or a traffic-control signal directs traffic to proceed.

(d)  This section does not apply at a railway grade crossing in a business or residence district.

(e)  An offense under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.107(c), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1061, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.2535.  School Buses To Stop At All Railroad Grade Crossings.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the operator of a school bus, before crossing a track at a railroad grade crossing:

(1)  shall stop the vehicle not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the track;

(2)  while stopped, shall listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and signals indicating the approach of a train; and

(3)  may not proceed until it is safe to do so.

(b)  After stopping as required by Subsection (a), the operator may proceed in a gear that permits the vehicle to complete the crossing without a change of gears. The operator may not shift gears while crossing the track.

(c)  An operator is not required to stop at:

(1)  an abandoned railroad grade crossing that is marked with a sign reading "tracks out of service"; or

(2)  an industrial or spur line railroad grade crossing that is marked with a sign reading "exempt."

(d)  A sign under Subsection (c) may be erected only by or with the consent of the appropriate state or local governmental official.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1061, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.254.  Vehicles Carrying Explosive Substances Or Flammable Liquids.

(a) Before crossing a railroad grade crossing, an operator of a vehicle that has an explosive substance or flammable liquid as the vehicle's principal cargo and that is moving at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour:

(1)  shall reduce the speed of the vehicle to 20 miles per hour or less before coming within 200 feet of the nearest rail of the railroad;

(2)  shall listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train; and

(3)  may not proceed until the operator determines that the course is clear.

(b)  The operator of a vehicle that has an explosive substance or flammable liquid as the vehicle's principal cargo, before crossing a railroad grade crossing on a highway in a municipality:

(1)  shall stop the vehicle not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad;

(2)  while stopped, shall listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train; and

(3)  may not proceed until the operator determines that the course is clear.

(c)  Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply:

(1)  if a police officer, crossing flagger, or traffic-control signal directs traffic to proceed;

(2)  where a railroad flashing signal is installed and does not indicate an approaching train;

(3)  to an abandoned or exempted grade crossing that is clearly marked by or with the consent of the state, if the markings can be read from the operator's location;

(4)  at a streetcar crossing in a business or residential district of a municipality; or

(5)  to a railroad track used exclusively for industrial switching purposes in a business district.

(d)  This section does not exempt the operator from compliance with Section 545.251 or 545.252.

(e)  An offense under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.107(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.255.  Moving Heavy Equipment At Railroad Grade Crossings.

(a) This section applies only to:

(1)  a crawler-type tractor, steam shovel, derrick, or roller; and

(2)  any other equipment or structure with:

(A)  a normal operating speed of 10 miles per hour or less; or

(B)  a vertical body or load clearance of less than one-half inch per foot of the distance between two adjacent axles or less than nine inches measured above the level surface of a roadway.

(b)  An operator of a vehicle or equipment may not move on or across a track at a railroad grade crossing unless the operator has given notice to a station agent of the railroad and given the railroad reasonable time to provide proper protection at the crossing.

(c)  To move a vehicle or equipment on or across a track at a railroad grade crossing, the operator:

(1)  shall stop the vehicle or equipment not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad;

(2)  while stopped, shall listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train; and

(3)  may not proceed until it is safe to cross the track.

(d)  An operator of a vehicle or equipment may not cross a railroad grade crossing when warning of the immediate approach of a railroad car or train is given by automatic signal, crossing gates, a flagger, or otherwise. If a flagger is provided by the railroad, the operator shall move the vehicle or equipment over the crossing at the flagger's direction.

(e)  An offense under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.107(e), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.2555.  Report And Investigation Of Certain Railroad Crossing Violations. (a) A Person Who On Site

observes a violation of Section 545.251, 545.252, 545.253, 545.254, or 545.255 may file a report of the violation if the person:

(1)  is an on-engine employee of a railroad; and

(2)  observes the violation while on a moving engine.

(b)  A report under this section must:

(1)  be made:

(A)  on a form approved by the department; and

(B)  not later than 72 hours after the violation;

(2)  be filed with:

(A)  an office of the department located in the county in which the violation occurred;

(B)  the sheriff of the county in which the violation occurred, if the violation occurred in the unincorporated area of the county; or

(C)  the police department of a municipality, if the violation occurred in the municipality; and

(3)  contain, in addition, to any other required information:

(A)  the date, time, and location of the violation;

(B)  the license plate number and a description of the vehicle involved in the violation;

(C)  a description of the operator of the vehicle involved in the violation; and

(D)  the name, address, and telephone number of the person filing the report.

(c)  A peace officer may:

(1)  before the seventh day after the date a report under this section is filed, initiate an investigation of the alleged violation; and

(2)  request the owner of the reported vehicle, as shown by the vehicle registration records of the Texas Department of Transportation, to disclose the name and address of the individual operating that vehicle at the time of the violation alleged in the report.

(d)  Unless the owner of the reported vehicle believes that to provide the peace officer with the name and address of the individual operating the vehicle at the time of the violation alleged would incriminate the owner, the owner shall, to the best of the owner's ability, disclose that individual's name and address.

(e)  An investigating peace officer who has probable cause to believe that a charge against an individual for a violation of Section 545.251, 545.252, 545.253, 545.254, or 545.255 is justified may:

(1)  prepare a written notice to appear in court that complies with Sections 543.003, 543.006, and 543.007; and

(2)  deliver the notice to the individual named in the notice in person or by certified mail.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.108(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.256.  Emerging From An Alley, Driveway, Or Building.

An operator emerging from an alley, driveway, or building in a business or residence district shall:

(1)  stop the vehicle before moving on a sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across an alley or driveway;

(2)  yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian to avoid collision; and

(3)  on entering the roadway, yield the right-of-way to an approaching vehicle.

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



Subchapter G. Stopping, Standing, And Parking

Section  545.301.  Stopping, Standing, Or Parking Outside A Business Or Residence District.

(a) An operator may not stop, park, or leave standing an attended or unattended vehicle on the main traveled part of a highway outside a business or residence district unless:

(1)  stopping, parking, or leaving the vehicle off the main traveled part of the highway is not practicable;

(2)  a width of highway beside the vehicle is unobstructed and open for the passage of other vehicles; and

(3)  the vehicle is in clear view for at least 200 feet in each direction on the highway.

(b)  This section does not apply to an operator of:

(1)  a vehicle that is disabled while on the paved or main traveled part of a highway if it is impossible to avoid stopping and temporarily leaving the vehicle on the highway; or

(2)  a vehicle used exclusively to transport solid, semisolid, or liquid waste operated at the time in connection with the removal or transportation of solid, semisolid, or liquid waste from a location adjacent to the highway.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 782, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  545.302.  Stopping, Standing, Or Parking Prohibited In Certain Places.

(a) An operator may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle:

(1)  on the roadway side of a vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street;

(2)  on a sidewalk;

(3)  in an intersection;

(4)  on a crosswalk;

(5)  between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within 30 feet of a place on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless the governing body of a municipality designates a different length by signs or markings;

(6)  alongside or opposite a street excavation or obstruction if stopping, standing, or parking the vehicle would obstruct traffic;

(7)  on a bridge or other elevated structure on a highway or in a highway tunnel;

(8)  on a railroad track; or

(9)  where an official sign prohibits stopping.

(b)  An operator may not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger, stand or park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:

(1)  in front of a public or private driveway;

(2)  within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;

(3)  within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection;

(4)  within 30 feet on the approach to a flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic-control signal located at the side of a roadway;

(5)  within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to a fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to a fire station within 75 feet of the entrance, if the entrance is properly marked with a sign; or

(6)  where an official sign prohibits standing.

(c)  An operator may not, except temporarily to load or unload merchandise or passengers, park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:

(1)  within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing; or

(2)  where an official sign prohibits parking.

(d)  A person may stop, stand, or park a bicycle on a sidewalk if the bicycle does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic on the sidewalk.

(e)  A municipality may adopt an ordinance exempting a private vehicle operated by an elevator constructor responding to an elevator emergency from Subsections (a)(1), (a)(5), (a)(6), (a)(9), (b), and (c).

(f)  Subsections (a), (b), and (c) do not apply if the avoidance of conflict with other traffic is necessary or if the operator is complying with the law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic-control device.

(g)  If the governing body of a municipality determines that it is necessary to improve the economic development of the municipality's central business district and that it will not adversely affect public safety, the governing body may adopt an ordinance regulating the standing, stopping, or parking of a vehicle at a place described by Subsection (a)(1), other than a road or highway in the state highway system, in the central business district of the municipality as defined in the ordinance. To the extent of any conflict between the ordinance and Subsection (a)(1), the ordinance controls.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 814, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999.



Section  545.303.  Additional Parking Regulations.

(a) An operator who stops or parks on a two-way roadway shall do so with the right-hand wheels of the vehicle parallel to and within 18 inches of the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(b)  An operator who stops or parks on a one-way roadway shall stop or park the vehicle parallel to the curb or edge of the roadway in the direction of authorized traffic movement with the right-hand wheels within 18 inches of the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or the left-hand wheels within 18 inches of the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway. This subsection does not apply where a local ordinance otherwise regulates stopping or parking on the one-way roadway.

(c)  A local authority by ordinance may permit angle parking on a roadway. This subsection does not apply to a federal-aid or state highway unless the director of the Texas Department of Transportation determines that the roadway is wide enough to permit angle parking without interfering with the free movement of traffic.

(d)  The Texas Department of Transportation, on a highway under the jurisdiction of that department, may place signs prohibiting or restricting the stopping, standing, or parking of a vehicle on the highway where the director of the Texas Department of Transportation determines that stopping, standing, or parking is dangerous to, or would unduly interfere with, the free movement of traffic on the highway.

(e)  To the extent of any conflict between Subsection (a) or (b) and a municipal ordinance adopted under Section 545.302(g), the ordinance controls.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 814, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 1999.



Section  545.304.  Moving The Vehicle Of Another; Unlawful Parking.

A person may not move a vehicle that is not lawfully under the person's control:

(1)  into an area where a vehicle is prohibited under Section 545.302; or

(2)  away from a curb a distance that is unlawful under Section 545.303.

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



Section  545.305.  Removal Of Unlawfully Stopped Vehicle.

(a) A peace officer listed under Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, or a license and weight inspector of the department may remove or require the operator or a person in charge of a vehicle to move a vehicle from a highway if the vehicle:

(1)  is unattended on a bridge, viaduct, or causeway or in a tube or tunnel and the vehicle is obstructing traffic;

(2)  is unlawfully parked and blocking the entrance to a private driveway;

(3)  has been reported as stolen;

(4)  is identified as having been stolen in a warrant issued on the filing of a complaint;

(5)  is unattended and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle has been abandoned for longer than 48 hours;

(6)  is disabled so that normal operation is impossible or impractical and the owner or person in charge of the vehicle is:

(A)  incapacitated and unable to provide for the vehicle's removal or custody; or

(B)  not in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle;

(7)  is disabled so that normal operation is impossible or impractical and the owner or person in charge of the vehicle does not designate a particular towing or storage company;

(8)  is operated by a person an officer arrests for an alleged offense and the officer is required by law to take the person into custody; or

(9)  is, in the opinion of the officer, a hazard, interferes with a normal function of a governmental agency, or because of a catastrophe, emergency, or unusual circumstance is imperiled.

(b)  An officer acting under Subsection (a) may require that the vehicle be taken to:

(1)  the nearest garage or other place of safety;

(2)  a garage designated or maintained by the governmental agency that employs the officer; or

(3)  a position off the paved or main traveled part of the highway.

(c)  A law enforcement agency other than the department that removes an abandoned vehicle in an unincorporated area shall notify the sheriff.

(d)  The owner of a vehicle that is removed or stored under this section is liable for all reasonable towing and storage fees incurred.

(e)  In this section:

(1)  "Towing company" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other association engaged in the business of towing vehicles on a highway for compensation or with the expectation of compensation for the towing or storage of the vehicles and includes the owner, operator, employee, or agent of a towing company.

(2)  "Storage company" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other association engaged in the business of storing or repairing vehicles for compensation or with the expectation of compensation for the storage or repair of vehicles and includes the owner, operator, employee, or agent of a storage company.

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



Section  545.3051.  Removal Of Personal Property From Roadway Or Right-of-way.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Authority" means:

(A)  a metropolitan rapid transit authority operating under Chapter 451; or

(B)  a regional transportation authority operating under Chapter 452.

(2)  "Law enforcement agency" means:

(A)  the department;

(B)  the police department of a municipality;

(C)  the sheriff's office of a county; or

(D)  a constable's office of a county.

(3)  "Personal property" means:

(A)  a vehicle described by Section 545.305;

(B)  spilled cargo;

(C)  a hazardous material as defined by 49 U.S.C. Section 5102 and its subsequent amendments; or

(D)  a hazardous substance as defined by Section 26.263, Water Code.

(b)  An authority or a law enforcement agency may remove personal property from a roadway or right-of-way if the authority or law enforcement agency determines that the property blocks the roadway or endangers public safety.

(c)  Personal property may be removed under this section without the consent of the owner or carrier of the property.

(d)  The owner and any carrier of personal property removed under this section shall reimburse the authority or law enforcement agency for any reasonable cost of removal and disposition of the property.

(e)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an authority or a law enforcement agency is not liable for:

(1)  any damage to personal property removed from a roadway or right-of-way under this section, unless the removal is carried out recklessly or in a grossly negligent manner; or

(2)  any damage resulting from the failure to exercise the authority granted by this section.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 803, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  545.306.  Regulation Of Towing Companies In Certain Counties.

(a) The commissioners court of a county with a population of 3.3 million or more shall by ordinance provide for the licensing of or the granting of a permit to a person to remove or store a vehicle authorized by Section 545.305 to be removed in an unincorporated area of the county. The ordinance must include rules to ensure the protection of the public and the safe and efficient operation of towing and storage services in the county and may not regulate or restrict the use of lighting equipment more than the extent allowed by state and federal law. The sheriff shall determine the rules included in the ordinance with the review and consent of the commissioners court.

(b)  The commissioners court shall set the fee for the license or permit in an amount that reasonably offsets the costs of enforcing the ordinance. The commissioners court shall use each license or permit fee to pay salaries and expenses of the sheriff's office for conducting inspections to determine compliance with the ordinance and laws relating to dealers in scrap metal and salvage.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 669, Sec. 143, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1034, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section 545.307.  Overnight Parking Of Commercial Motor Vehicle In Or Near Residential Subdivision.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Commercial motor vehicle" means:

(A)  a commercial motor vehicle, as defined by Section 522.003, and includes a vehicle meeting that definition regardless of whether the vehicle is used for a commercial purpose; or

(B)  a road tractor, truck tractor, pole trailer, or semitrailer, as those terms are defined by Section 541.201.

(2)  "Residential subdivision" means a subdivision in a county with a population greater than 220,000:

(A)  for which a plat is recorded in the county real property records; and

(B)  in which the majority of lots are subject to deed restrictions limiting the lots to residential use.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-1), after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m., a person may not park a commercial motor vehicle or leave the vehicle parked on a street that is maintained by a county or municipality and for which signs are posted as provided by Subsection (c) if the street:

(1)  is located within a residential subdivision; or

(2)  is adjacent to a residential subdivision and within 1,000 feet of the property line of a residence, school, place of worship, or park.

(b-1)  A person may park a commercial motor vehicle or leave the vehicle parked on a street for which signs are posted as provided by Subsection (c) if the commercial motor vehicle:

(1)  is transporting persons or property to or from the residential subdivision or performing work in the subdivision;  and

(2)  remains parked in or adjacent to the subdivision only for the period necessary to complete the transportation or work.

(c)  The residents of a residential subdivision may petition a county or municipality in which the subdivision is located for the posting of signs prohibiting the overnight parking of a commercial motor vehicle in the subdivision or on a street adjacent to the subdivision and within 1,000 feet of the property line of a residence, school, place of worship, or park.  The petition must be signed by at least 25 percent of the owners or tenants of residences in the subdivision.  Not more than one person for each residence may sign the petition, and each person signing must be at least 18 years of age.  Promptly after the filing of a petition meeting the requirements of this subsection and subject to Subsection (d), the county or municipality receiving the petition shall post the signs.  The signs must:

(1)  be posted:

(A)  at each entrance of the subdivision through which a commercial motor vehicle may enter the subdivision or within the subdivision if there is not defined entrance to the subdivision; or

(B)  on a street adjacent to the subdivision;  and

(2)  state, in letters at least two inches in height, that overnight parking of a commercial motor vehicle is prohibited in the subdivision or on a street adjacent to the subdivision.

(d)  A county or municipality receiving a petition under Subsection (c) may condition the posting of the signs on payment by the residents of the residential subdivision of the cost of providing the signs.

(e)  A person commits an offense if the person parks a commercial motor vehicle in violation of Subsection (b).

(f)  This section does not limit the power of a municipality to regulate the parking of commercial motor vehicles.

(g)  For the purposes of this section, contiguous subdivisions that are developed by the same entity or a successor to that entity and that are given the same public name or a variation of the same public name are considered one subdivision. Separation of one of the subdivisions from another by a road, stream, greenbelt, or similar barrier does not make the subdivisions noncontiguous.

(h)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  a vehicle owned by a utility that an employee of the utility who is on call 24 hours a day parks at the employee's residence; or

(2)  a vehicle owned by a commercial establishment that is parked on the street adjacent to where the establishment is located.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 173, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 731, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1419, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1021, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1021, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  545.308.  Presumption.

The governing body of a local authority, by ordinance, order, or other official action, may provide that in a prosecution for an offense under this subchapter involving the stopping, standing, or parking of an unattended motor vehicle it is presumed that the registered owner of the vehicle is the person who stopped, stood, or parked the vehicle at the time and place the offense occurred.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1080, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Subchapter H. Speed Restrictions

Section  545.351.  Maximum Speed Requirement.

(a) An operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.

(b)  An operator:

(1)  may not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for actual and potential hazards then existing; and

(2)  shall control the speed of the vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with another person or vehicle that is on or entering the highway in compliance with law and the duty of each person to use due care.

(c)  An operator shall, consistent with Subsections (a) and (b), drive at an appropriate reduced speed if:

(1)  the operator is approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing;

(2)  the operator is approaching and going around a curve;

(3)  the operator is approaching a hill crest;

(4)  the operator is traveling on a narrow or winding roadway; and

(5)  a special hazard exists with regard to traffic, including pedestrians, or weather or highway conditions.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.109, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.352.  Prima Facie Speed Limits.

(a) A speed in excess of the limits established by Subsection (b) or under another provision of this subchapter is prima facie evidence that the speed is not reasonable and prudent and that the speed is unlawful.

 

Text of subsec. (b) as amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 663, Sec. 2 and Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 739, Sec. 1

 

(b)  Unless a special hazard exists that requires a slower speed for compliance with Section 545.351(b), the following speeds are lawful:

(1)  30 miles per hour in an urban district on a street other than an alley and 15 miles per hour in an alley;

(2)  70 miles per hour in daytime and 65 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is a passenger car, motorcycle, passenger car or light truck towing a trailer bearing a vessel, as defined by Section 31.003, Parks and Wildlife Code, that is less than 26 feet in length, passenger car or light truck towing a trailer or semitrailer used primarily to transport a motorcycle, or passenger car or light truck towing a trailer or semitrailer designed and used primarily to transport dogs or livestock, on a highway numbered by this state or the United States outside an urban district, including a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road;

(3)  60 miles per hour in daytime and 55 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is a passenger car or motorcycle on a highway that is outside an urban district and not a highway numbered by this state or the United States;

(4)  60 miles per hour outside an urban district if a speed limit for the vehicle is not otherwise specified by this section; or

(5)  outside an urban district:

(A)  60 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus that has passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection under Section 548.201 and is on a highway numbered by the United States or this state, including a farm-to-market road;

(B)  50 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus that:

(i)  has not passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection under Section 548.201; or

(ii)  is traveling on a highway not numbered by the United States or this state; or

(C)  60 miles per hour in daytime and 55 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is a truck, other than a light truck, or if the vehicle is a truck tractor, trailer, or semitrailer, or a vehicle towing a trailer other than a trailer described by Subdivision (2), semitrailer, another motor vehicle or towable recreational vehicle.

 

Text of subsec. (b) as amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 663, Sec. 2 and Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1346, Sec. 1

 

(b)  Unless a special hazard exists that requires a slower speed for compliance with Section 545.351(b), the following speeds are lawful:

(1)  30 miles per hour in an urban district on a street other than an alley and 15 miles per hour in an alley;

(2)  70 miles per hour in daytime and 65 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is on a highway numbered by this state or the United States outside an urban district, including a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road, except as provided by Subdivision (4);

(3)  60 miles per hour in daytime and 55 miles per hour in nighttime if the vehicle is on a highway that is outside an urban district and not a highway numbered by this state or the United States;

(4)  outside an urban district:

(A)  60 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus that has passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection under Section 548.201 and is on a highway numbered by the United States or this state, including a farm-to-market road;

(B)  50 miles per hour if the vehicle is a school bus that:

(i)  has not passed a commercial motor vehicle inspection under Section 548.201; or

(ii)  is traveling on a highway not numbered by the United States or this state; or

(C)  60 miles per hour in daytime and 55 miles per hour in nighttime if:

(i)  the vehicle is a truck, other than a light truck, or if the vehicle is a truck tractor, trailer, or semitrailer; and

(ii)  the vehicle is on a farm-to-market or ranch-to-market road;

(5)  on a beach, 15 miles per hour; or

(6)  on a county road adjacent to a public beach, 15 miles per hour, if declared by the commissioners court of the county.

(c)  The speed limits for a bus or other vehicle engaged in the business of transporting passengers for compensation or hire, for a commercial vehicle used as a highway post office vehicle for highway post office service in the transportation of United States mail, for a light truck, and for a school activity bus are the same as required for a passenger car at the same time and location.

(d)  In this section:

(1)  "Interstate highway" means a segment of the national system of interstate and defense highways that is:

(A)  located in this state;

(B)  officially designated by the Texas Transportation Commission; and

(C)  approved under Title 23, United States Code.

(2)  "Light truck" means a truck with a manufacturer's rated carrying capacity of not more than 2,000 pounds, including a pick-up truck, panel delivery truck, and carry-all truck.

(3)  "Urban district" means the territory adjacent to and including a highway, if the territory is improved with structures that are used for business, industry, or dwelling houses and are 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. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.110(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1020, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 663, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 739, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1346, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  545.353.  Authority Of Texas Transportation Commission To Alter Speed Limits.

(a) If the Texas Transportation Commission determines from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation that a prima facie speed limit in this subchapter is unreasonable or unsafe on a part of the highway system, the commission, by order recorded in its minutes, and except as provided in Subsection (d), may determine and declare:

(1)  a reasonable and safe prima facie speed limit; and

(2)  another reasonable and safe speed because of wet or inclement weather.

(b)  In determining whether a prima facie speed limit on a part of the highway system is reasonable and safe, the commission shall consider the width and condition of the pavement, the usual traffic at the affected area, and other circumstances.

(c)  A prima facie speed limit that is declared by the commission under this section is effective when the commission erects signs giving notice of the new limit. A new limit that is enacted for a highway under this section is effective at all times or at other times as determined.

(d)  Except as provided by Subsection (h), the commission may not:

(1)  modify the rules established by Section 545.351(b);

(2)  establish a speed limit of more than 70 miles per hour; or

(3)  increase the speed limit for a vehicle described by Section 545.352(b)(5).

(e)  The commission, in conducting the engineering and traffic investigation specified by Subsection (a), shall follow the "Procedure for Establishing Speed Zones" as adopted by the commission. The commission may revise the procedure to accommodate technological advancement in traffic operation, the design and construction of highways and motor vehicles, and the safety of the motoring public.

(f)  The commission's authority to alter speed limits applies:

(1)  to any part of a highway officially designated or marked by the commission as part of the state highway system; and

(2)  both inside and outside the limits of a municipality, including a home-rule municipality, for a limited-access or controlled-access highway.

(g)  For purposes of this section, "wet or inclement weather" means a condition of the roadway that makes driving on the roadway unsafe and hazardous and that is caused by precipitation, including water, ice, and snow.

(h)  Notwithstanding Section 545.352(b), the commission may establish a speed limit of 75 miles per hour in daytime on a part of the highway system if:

(1)  the commission determines that 75 miles per hour in daytime is a reasonable and safe speed for that part of the highway system; and

(2)  that part of the highway is located in a county with a population density of less than 15 persons per square mile.

(h-1)  Notwithstanding Section 545.352(b), the commission may establish a speed limit of 80 miles per hour in daytime on a part of Interstate Highway 10 or Interstate Highway 20 in Crockett, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kerr, Kimble, Pecos, Reeves, Sutton, or Ward County if  the commission determines that 80 miles per hour in daytime is a reasonable and safe speed for that part of the highway.

(i)  The speed limits authorized by Subsections (h) and (h-1) do not apply to:

(1)  trucks, other than light trucks and light trucks pulling a trailer; and

(2)  truck tractors, trailers, and semitrailers.

(j)  The commission may not determine or declare, or agree to determine or declare, a prima facie speed limit for environmental purposes on a part of the highway system.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.111, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1518, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1331, Sec. 25, eff. June 20, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 730, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.



Section  545.3531.  Authority Of Texas Transportation Commission To Establish Speed Limits On Trans-texas Corridor. (a)

Notwithstanding Section 545.352, the Texas Transportation Commission, by order recorded in its minutes and except as provided by Subsection (d), may determine and declare on a highway segment of the Trans-Texas Corridor designated under Chapter 227 a reasonable and safe prima facie speed limit in excess of a prima facie speed limit established by Section 545.352.

(b)  In determining whether a prima facie speed limit is reasonable and safe, the commission shall conduct an engineering and traffic investigation and shall consider the width and condition of the pavement, the usual traffic on the highway segment, the suitability of existing safety features, and other circumstances.

(c)  A prima facie speed limit that is declared by the commission under this section is effective when the department erects signs giving notice of the new limit. A new limit that is enacted under this section is effective at all times or at other times as determined.

(d)  The commission may not:

(1)  modify the rules established by Section 545.351(b); or

(2)  establish a speed limit of more than 85 miles per hour.

(e)  The commission, in conducting the engineering and traffic investigation specified by Subsection (b), shall follow the "Procedures for Establishing Speed Zones" as adopted by the commission.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 1.02, eff. June 21, 2003.



Section  545.3535.  Authority Of Texas Transportation Commission To Alter Speed Limits On Certain Roads.

(a) The commissioners court of a county by resolution may request the Texas Transportation Commission to determine and declare a reasonable and safe prima facie speed limit that is lower than a speed limit established by Section 545.352 on any part of a farm-to-market or a ranch-to-market road of the highway system that is located in that county and is without improved shoulders.

(b)  The commission shall give consideration to local public opinion and may determine and declare a lower speed limit on any part of the road without an engineering and traffic investigation, but the commission must use sound and generally accepted traffic engineering practices in determining and declaring the lower speed limit.

(c)  The commission by rule shall establish standards for determining lower speed limits within a set range.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1171, Sec. 1.45, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1346, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  545.354.  Authority Of Regional Tollway Authorities To Alter Speed Limits On Turnpike Projects.

(a) (1) In this section, "authority" means a regional tollway authority governed by Chapter 366.

(2)  If an authority determines from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation that a prima facie speed limit described in this subchapter is unreasonable or unsafe on a part of a turnpike constructed and maintained by the authority, the authority by order recorded in its minutes shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe prima facie speed limit for vehicles or classes of vehicles on the turnpike.

(b)  In determining whether a prima facie speed limit on a part of a turnpike constructed and maintained by the authority is reasonable or safe, the authority shall consider the width and condition of the pavement, the usual traffic on the turnpike, and other circumstances.

(c)  A prima facie speed limit that is declared by the authority in accordance with this section is effective when the authority erects signs giving notice of the new limit. A new limit that is adopted for a turnpike project constructed and maintained by the authority in accordance with this section is effective at all times or at other times as determined.

(d)  The authority's power to alter prima facie speed limits is effective and exclusive on any part of a turnpike project constructed and maintained by the authority inside and outside the limits of a municipality, including a home-rule municipality.

(e)   The authority may not:

(1)  alter the general rule established by Section 545.351(a); or

(2)  establish a speed limit of more than 70 miles per hour.

(f)  The authority, in conducting the engineering and traffic investigation specified by Subsection (a), shall follow the procedure for establishing speed zones adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 576, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 920, Sec. 18, eff. June 14, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 312, Sec. 74, 75, eff. June 18, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 15.71, 15.72, eff. June 21, 2003.



Section  545.355.  Authority Of County Commissioners Court To Alter Speed Limits.

(a) The commissioners court of a county, for a county road or highway outside the limits of the right-of-way of an officially designated or marked highway or road of the state highway system and outside a municipality, has the same authority to increase prima facie speed limits from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation as the Texas Transportation Commission on an officially designated or marked highway of the state highway system.

(b)  The commissioners court of a county may declare a lower speed limit of not less than:

(1)  30 miles per hour on a county road or highway to which this section applies, if the commissioners court determines that the prima facie speed limit on the road or highway is unreasonable or unsafe; or

(2)  20 miles per hour in a residence district, unless the roadway has been designated as a major thoroughfare by a city planning commission.

(c)  The commissioners court may not modify the rule established by Section 545.351(a) or establish a speed limit of more than 60 miles per hour.

(d)  The commissioners court may modify a prima facie speed limit in accordance with this section only by an order entered on its records.

(e)  The commissioners court of a county with a population of more than 2.8 million may establish from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation a speed limit of not more than 70 miles per hour on any part of a highway of that county that is a limited-access or controlled-access highway, regardless of the location of the part of the highway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. May 9, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 833, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 852, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.



Section  545.356.  Authority Of Municipality To Alter Speed Limits.

(a) The governing body of a municipality, for a highway or part of a highway in the municipality, including a highway of the state highway system, has the same authority to alter by ordinance prima facie speed limits from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation as the Texas Transportation Commission on an officially designated or marked highway of the state highway system. The governing body of a municipality may not modify the rule established by Section 545.351(a) or establish a speed limit of more than 60 miles per hour.

(b)  The governing body of a municipality, for a highway or part of a highway in the municipality, including a highway of the state highway system, has the same authority to alter prima facie speed limits from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation as the commission for an officially designated or marked highway of the state highway system, when the highway or part of the highway is under repair, construction, or maintenance. A municipality may not modify the rule established by Section 545.351(a) or establish a speed limit of more than 60 miles per hour.

(b-1)  The governing body of a municipality, for a highway or a part of a highway in the municipality that is not an officially designated or marked highway or road of the state highway system, may declare a lower speed limit of not less than 25 miles per hour, if the governing body determines that the prima facie speed limit on the highway is unreasonable or unsafe.

(b-2)  Subsection (b-1) applies only to a two-lane, undivided highway or part of a highway.

(c)  A prima facie speed limit that is altered by the governing body of a municipality under Subsection (b) or (b-1) is effective when the governing body erects signs giving notice of the new limit and at all times or at other times as determined.

(d)  The governing body of a municipality that declares a lower speed limit on a highway or part of a highway under Subsection (b-1), not later than February 1 of each year, shall publish on its Internet website and submit to the department a report that compares for each of the two previous calendar years:

(1)  the number of traffic citations issued by peace officers of the municipality and the alleged speed of the vehicles, for speed limit violations on the highway or part of the highway;

(2)  the number of warning citations issued by peace officers of the municipality on the highway or part of the highway; and

(3)  the number of vehicular accidents that resulted in injury or death and were attributable to speed limit violations on the highway or part of the highway.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 166, Sec. 1, eff. May 27, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1144, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.



Section  545.357.  Public Hearing To Consider Speed Limits Where Certain Schools Are Located.

(a) The governing body of a municipality in which a public or private elementary or secondary school or an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003(8) or (15), Education Code, is located shall on request hold a public hearing at least once each calendar year to consider prima facie speed limits on a highway in the municipality, including a highway of the state highway system, near the school or institution of higher education.

(b)  If a county road outside the state highway system is located within 500 feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school or an institution of higher education that is not in a municipality, the commissioners court of the county on request shall hold a public hearing at least once each calendar year to consider the prima facie speed limit on the road near the school or institution of higher education.

(c)  A municipal governing body or commissioners court on request may hold one public hearing for all public and private elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education in its jurisdiction.

(d)  The Texas Transportation Commission, on request, shall hold a public hearing at least once each calendar year to consider prima facie speed limits on highways in the state highway system that are near public or private elementary or secondary schools or institutions of higher education.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 350, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.358.  Authority Of Commanding Officer Of United States Military Reservation To Alter Speed Limits.

The commanding officer of a United States military reservation, for a highway or part of a highway in the military reservation, including a highway of the state highway system, has the same authority by order to alter prima facie speed limits from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation as the Texas Transportation Commission for an officially designated or marked highway of the state highway system. A commanding officer may not modify the rule established by Section 545.351(a) or establish a speed limit of more than 60 miles per hour.

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



Section  545.359.  Conflicting Designated Speed Limits. An

order of the Texas Transportation Commission declaring a speed limit on a part of a designated or marked route of the state highway system made under Section 545.353 or 545.362 supersedes any conflicting designated speed established under Sections 545.356 and 545.358.

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



Section  545.360.  Duty Of Texas Transportation Commission And State Board Of Education To Provide Information And Assistance.

The chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission and the chairman of the State Board of Education shall provide assistance and information relevant to consideration of speed limits to commissioners courts, municipal governing bodies, and other interested persons.

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



Section  545.361.  Special Speed Limitations.

(a) An operator of a motor-driven cycle may not drive at a speed of more than 35 miles per hour during the time specified by Section 547.302(a) unless the cycle is equipped with a headlamp or lamps that reveal a person or vehicle 300 feet ahead.

(b)  An operator of a vehicle equipped with solid rubber or cushion tires may not drive at a speed of more than 10 miles per hour.

(c)  An operator driving over a bridge or other elevated structure that is a part of a highway may not drive at a speed of more than the maximum speed that can be maintained with safety to the bridge or structure, when signs are posted as provided by this section.

(d)  An operator of self-propelled machinery designed or adapted for applying plant food materials or agricultural chemicals and not designed or adapted for the sole purpose of transporting the materials or chemicals may not drive at a speed of more than 30 miles per hour unless the machinery is registered under Chapter 502.

(e)  The Texas Transportation Commission, for a state highway, the Texas Turnpike Authority, for any part of a turnpike constructed and maintained by the authority, and a local authority for a highway under the jurisdiction of the local authority, may investigate a bridge or other elevated structure that is a part of a highway. If after conducting the investigation the commission, turnpike authority, or local authority finds that the structure cannot safely withstand vehicles traveling at a speed otherwise permissible under this subtitle, the commission, turnpike authority, or local authority shall:

(1)  determine and declare the maximum speed of vehicles that the structure can safely withstand; and

(2)  post and maintain signs before each end of the structure stating the maximum speed.

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



Section  545.362.  Temporary Speed Limits.

(a) Subject to Subsection (c), the Texas Transportation Commission may enter an order establishing prima facie speed limits of not more than 70 miles per hour applicable to all highways, including a turnpike under the authority of the Texas Turnpike Authority or a highway under the control of a municipality or county. An order entered under this section does not have the effect of increasing a speed limit on any highway.

(b)  The limits established under this section:

(1)  are prima facie prudent and reasonable speed limits enforceable in the same manner as prima facie limits established under other provisions of this subchapter; and

(2)  supersede any other established speed limit that would permit a person to operate a motor vehicle at a higher rate of speed.

(c)  An order may be issued under Subsection (a) only if the commission finds and states in the order that:

(1)  a severe shortage of motor fuel or other petroleum product exists, the shortage was caused by war, national emergency, or other circumstances, and a reduction of speed limits will foster conservation and safety; or

(2)  the failure to alter state speed limits will prevent the state from receiving money from the United States for highway purposes.

(d)  Unless a specific speed limit is required by federal law or directive under threat of loss of highway money of the United States, the commission may not set prima facie speed limits under this section of all vehicles at less than 60 miles per hour, except on a divided highway of at least four lanes, for which the commission may not set prima facie speed limits of all vehicles at less than 65 miles per hour.

(e)  Before the commission may enter an order establishing a prima facie speed limit, it must hold a public hearing preceded by the publication in at least three newspapers of general circulation in the state of a notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing and of the action proposed to be taken. The notice must be published at least 12 days before the date of the hearing. At the hearing, all interested persons may present oral or written testimony regarding the proposed order.

(f)  If the commission enters an order under this section, it shall file the order in the office of the governor. The governor shall then make an independent finding of fact and determine the existence of the facts in Subsection (c). Before the 13th day after the date the order is filed in the governor's office, the governor shall conclude the finding of fact, issue a proclamation stating whether the necessary facts exist to support the issuance of the commission's order, and file copies of the order and the proclamation in the office of the secretary of state.

(g)  If the governor's proclamation states that the facts necessary to support the issuance of the commission's order exist, the order takes effect according to Subsection (h). Otherwise, the order has no effect.

(h)  In an order issued under this section, the commission may specify the date the order takes effect, but that date may not be sooner than the eighth day after the date the order is filed with the governor. If the order does not have an effective date, it takes effect on the 21st day after the date it is filed with the governor. Unless the order by its own terms expires earlier, it remains in effect until a subsequent order adopted by the procedure prescribed by this section amends or repeals it, except that an order adopted under this section expires when this section expires. The procedure for repealing an order is the same as for adopting an order, except that the commission and the governor must find that the facts required to support the issuance of an order under Subsection (c) no longer exist.

(i)  If an order is adopted in accordance with this section, the commission and all governmental authorities responsible for the maintenance of highway speed limit signs shall take appropriate action to conceal or remove all signs that give notice of a speed limit of more than the one contained in the order and to erect appropriate signs. All governmental entities responsible for administering traffic safety programs and enforcing traffic laws shall use all available resources to notify the public of the effect of the order. To accomplish this purpose, the governmental entities shall request the cooperation of all news media in the state.

(j)  A change in speed limits under this section is effective until the commission makes a finding that the conditions in Subsection (c) require or authorize an additional change in those speed limits or in the highway or sections of highway to which those speed limits apply.

(k)  This section expires when the national maximum speed limits are repealed.

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



Section  545.3625.  Confidentiality Of Violation Information: Fuel Conservation Speed Limit.

(a) If a person violates a maximum prima facie speed limit imposed under Section 545.362, as that law existed immediately before December 8, 1995, and the person was not traveling at a speed, as alleged in the citation, if not contested by the person, or, if contested by the person, as alleged in the complaint and found by the court, that is greater than the maximum prima facie speed limit for the location that has been established under this chapter, other than under Section 545.362, information in the custody of the department concerning the violation is confidential.

(b)  The department may not release the information to any person or to another state governmental entity.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.112(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.363.  Minimum Speed Regulations.

(a) An operator may not drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(b)  When the Texas Transportation Commission, the Texas Turnpike Authority, the commissioners court of a county, or the governing body of a municipality, within the jurisdiction of each, as applicable, as specified in Sections 545.353 to 545.357, determines from the results of an engineering and traffic investigation that slow speeds on a part of a highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the commission, authority, county commissioners court, or governing body may determine and declare a minimum speed limit on the highway.

(c)  If appropriate signs are erected giving notice of a minimum speed limit adopted under this section, an operator may not drive a vehicle more slowly than that limit except as necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

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



Section  545.365.  Speed Limit Exception For Emergencies; Municipal Regulation.

(a) The regulation of the speed of a vehicle under this subchapter does not apply to:

(1)  an authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call;

(2)  a police patrol; or

(3)  a physician or ambulance responding to an emergency call.

(b)  A municipality by ordinance may regulate the speed of:

(1)  an ambulance;

(2)  an emergency medical services vehicle; or

(3)  an authorized vehicle operated by a blood or tissue bank.

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



Subchapter I. Miscellaneous Rules

Section  545.401.  Reckless Driving; Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine not to exceed $200;

(2)  confinement in county jail for not more than 30 days; or

(3)  both the fine and the confinement.

(c)  Notwithstanding Section 542.001, this section applies to:

(1)  a private access way or parking area provided for a client or patron by a business, other than a private residential property or the property of a garage or parking lot for which a charge is made for the storing or parking of motor vehicles; and

(2)  a highway or other public place.

(d)  Notwithstanding Section 542.004, this section applies to a person, a team, or motor vehicles and other equipment engaged in work on a highway surface.

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



Section  545.402.  Moving A Parked Vehicle.

An operator may not begin movement of a stopped, standing, or parked vehicle unless the movement can be made safely.

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



Section  545.403.  Driving Through Safety Zone.

An operator may not drive through or in a safety zone.

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



Section  545.404.  Unattended Motor Vehicle.

An operator may not leave the vehicle unattended without:

(1)  stopping the engine;

(2)  locking the ignition;

(3)  removing the key from the ignition;

(4)  setting the parking brake effectively; and

(5)  if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

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



Section  545.405.  Driving On Mountain Highway.

An operator moving through a defile or canyon or on a mountain highway shall:

(1)  hold the vehicle under control and as near the right-hand edge of the highway as possible; and

(2)  on approaching a curve that obstructs the view of the highway for 200 feet, give warning with the horn of the motor vehicle.

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



Section  545.406.  Coasting.

(a) An operator moving on a downgrade may not coast with the gears or transmission of the vehicle in neutral.

(b)  An operator of a truck, tractor, or bus moving on a downgrade may not coast with the clutch disengaged.

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



Section  545.407.  Following Or Obstructing Fire Apparatus Or Ambulance.

(a) An operator, unless on official business, may not follow closer than 500 feet a fire apparatus responding to a fire alarm or drive into or park the vehicle in the block where the fire apparatus has stopped to answer a fire alarm.

(b)  An operator may not:

(1)  follow closer than 500 feet an ambulance that is flashing red lights unless the operator is on official business; or

(2)  drive or park the vehicle where an ambulance has been summoned for an emergency call in a manner intended to interfere with the arrival or departure of the ambulance.

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



Section  545.408.  Crossing Fire Hose.

An operator may not, without the consent of the fire department official in command, drive over an unprotected hose of a fire department if the hose is on a street or private driveway and is intended for use at a fire or alarm of fire.

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



Section  545.409.  Drawbars And Trailer Hitches; Saddle-mount Towing.

(a) The drawbar or other connection between a vehicle drawing another vehicle and the drawn vehicle:

(1)  must be strong enough to pull all weight drawn; and

(2)  may not exceed 15 feet between the vehicles except for a connection between two vehicles transporting poles, pipe, machinery, or other objects of structural nature that cannot readily be dismembered.

(b)  An operator drawing another vehicle and using a chain, rope, or cable to connect the vehicles shall display on the connection a white flag or cloth not less than 12 inches square.

(c)  A motor vehicle may not draw more than three motor vehicles attached to it by the triple saddle-mount method. In this subsection, "triple saddle-mount method" means the mounting of the front wheels of trailing vehicles on the bed of another vehicle while leaving the rear wheels only of the trailing vehicles in contact with the roadway.

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



Section  545.410.  Towing Safety Chains.

(a) An operator of a passenger car or light truck may not draw a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or another motor vehicle unless safety chains of a type approved by the department are attached in a manner approved by the department from the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle to the drawing vehicle. This subsection does not apply to the drawing of a trailer or semitrailer used for agricultural purposes.

(b)  The department shall adopt rules prescribing the type of safety chains required to be used according to the weight of the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or motor vehicle being drawn. The rules shall:

(1)  require safety chains to be strong enough to maintain the connection between the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle and the drawing vehicle; and

(2)  show the proper method to attach safety chains between the trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle and the drawing vehicle.

(c)  Subsection (b) does not apply to trailers, semitrailers, or house trailers that are equipped with safety chains installed by the original manufacturer before the effective date of the rules.

(d)  This section does not apply to a trailer, semitrailer, house trailer, or drawn motor vehicle that is operated in compliance with the federal motor carrier safety regulations.

(e)  In this section, "safety chains" means flexible tension members connected from the front of a drawn vehicle to the rear of the drawing vehicle to maintain connection between the vehicles if the primary connecting system fails.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.113(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1357, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  545.411.  Use Of Rest Area: Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person remains at a rest area for longer than 24 hours or erects a tent, shelter, booth, or structure at the rest area and the person:

(1)  has notice while conducting the activity that the activity is prohibited; or

(2)  receives notice that the activity is prohibited but does not depart or remove the structure within eight hours after receiving notice.

(b)  For purposes of this section, a person:

(1)  has notice if a sign stating the prohibited activity and penalty is posted on the premises; or

(2)  receives notice if a peace officer orally communicates to the person the prohibited activity and penalty for the offense.

(c)  It is an exception to Subsection (a) if a nonprofit organization erects a temporary structure at a rest area to provide food services, food, or beverages to travelers and the Texas Department of Transportation:

(1)  finds that the services would constitute a public service for the benefit of the traveling public; and

(2)  issues a permit to the organization.

(d)  In this section, "rest area" means public real property designated as a rest area, comfort station, picnic area, roadside park, or scenic overlook by the Texas Department of Transportation.

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



Section  545.412.  Child Passenger Safety Seat Systems; Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $25 for the first offense and not more than $250 for a second or subsequent offense.

(b-1)  In addition to all other fees and court costs, a person shall pay 15 cents as a court cost on conviction of an offense under this section.  Court costs due under this section shall be collected in the same manner as other fees, fines, or costs are collected in the case.  The clerk at least monthly shall send the court costs collected under this section to the comptroller for deposit in a separate account in the general revenue fund that may be appropriated only to the Texas Department of Transportation and used to purchase child passenger safety seat systems and distribute them to low-income families.

(c)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was operating the vehicle in an emergency or for a law enforcement purpose.

(d)  Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01.

(e)  This section does not apply to a person:

(1)  operating a vehicle transporting passengers for hire, excluding third-party transport service providers when transporting clients pursuant to a contract to provide nonemergency Medicaid transportation; or

(2)  transporting a child in a vehicle in which all seating positions equipped with child passenger safety seat systems or safety belts are occupied.

(f)  In this section:

(1)  "Child passenger safety seat system" means an infant or child passenger restraint system that meets the federal standards for crash-tested restraint systems as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(2)  "Passenger vehicle" means a passenger car, light truck, sport utility vehicle, passenger van designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver, truck, or truck tractor.

(3)  "Safety belt" means a lap belt and any shoulder straps included as original equipment on or added to a vehicle.

(4)  "Secured," in connection with use of a safety belt, means using the lap belt and any shoulder straps according to the instructions of:

(A)  the manufacturer of the vehicle, if the safety belt is original equipment; or

(B)  the manufacturer of the safety belt, if the safety belt has been added to the vehicle.

(g)  A judge, acting under Article 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure, who elects to defer further proceedings and to place a defendant accused of a violation of this section on probation under that article, in lieu of requiring the defendant to complete a driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency, shall require the defendant to attend and present proof that the defendant has successfully completed a specialized driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency under the Texas Driver and Traffic Safety Education Act (Article 4413(29c), Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes) that includes four hours of instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat systems and the wearing of seat belts and emphasizes:

(1)  the effectiveness of child passenger safety seat systems and seat belts in reducing the harm to children being transported in motor vehicles; and

(2)  the requirements of this section and the penalty for noncompliance.

(h)  Notwithstanding Section 542.402(a), a municipality or county, at the end of the municipality's or county's fiscal year, shall send to the comptroller an amount equal to 50 percent of the fines collected by the municipality or the county for violations of this section. The comptroller shall deposit the amount received to the credit of the tertiary care fund for use by trauma centers.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.114(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 618, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 910, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1042, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 913, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 913, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 255, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1257, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 545.4121.  Defense; Possession Of Child Passenger Safety Seat System. (a)

This section applies to an offense committed under Section 545.412.

(b)  It is a defense to prosecution of an offense to which this section applies that the defendant provides to the court evidence satisfactory to the court that the defendant possesses an appropriate child passenger safety seat system for each child required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a).

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 913, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.



Section  545.413.  Safety Belts; Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if:

(1)  the person:

(A)  is at least 15 years of age;

(B)  is riding in a passenger vehicle while the vehicle is being operated;

(C)  is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt; and

(D)  is not secured by a safety belt; or

(2)  as the operator of a school bus equipped with a safety belt for the operator's seat, the person is not secured by the safety belt.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  operates a passenger vehicle that is equipped with safety belts; and

(2)  allows a child who is younger than 17 years of age and who is not required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a) to ride in the vehicle without requiring the child to be secured by a safety belt, provided the child is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt.

(b-1)  A person commits an offense if the person allows a child who is younger than 17 years of age and who is not required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system under Section 545.412(a) to ride in a passenger van designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver, without securing the child individually by a safety belt, if the child is occupying a seat that is equipped with a safety belt.

(c)  A passenger vehicle or a seat in a passenger vehicle is considered to be equipped with a safety belt if the vehicle is required under Section 547.601 to be equipped with safety belts.

(d)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $50. An offense under Subsection (b) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $200.

(e)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1)  the person possesses a written statement from a licensed physician stating that for a medical reason the person should not wear a safety belt;

(2)  the person presents to the court, not later than the 10th day after the date of the offense, a statement from a licensed physician stating that for a medical reason the person should not wear a safety belt;

(3)  the person is employed by the United States Postal Service and performing a duty for that agency that requires the operator to service postal boxes from a vehicle or that requires frequent entry into and exit from a vehicle;

(4)  the person is engaged in the actual delivery of newspapers from a vehicle or is performing newspaper delivery duties that require frequent entry into and exit from a vehicle;

(5)  the person is employed by a public or private utility company and is engaged in the reading of meters or performing a similar duty for that company requiring the operator to frequently enter into and exit from a vehicle;

(6)  the person is operating a commercial vehicle registered as a farm vehicle under the provisions of Section 502.163 that does not have a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of 48,000 pounds or more; or

(7)  the person is the operator of or a passenger in a vehicle used exclusively to transport solid waste and performing duties that require frequent entry into and exit from the vehicle.

(f)  The department shall develop and implement an educational program to encourage the wearing of safety belts and to emphasize:

(1)  the effectiveness of safety belts and other restraint devices in reducing the risk of harm to passengers in motor vehicles; and

(2)  the requirements of this section and the penalty for noncompliance.

(g)  Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01.

(h)  In this section, "passenger vehicle," "safety belt," and "secured" have the meanings assigned by Section 545.412.

(i)  A judge, acting under Article 45.0511, Code of Criminal Procedure, who elects to defer further proceedings and to place a defendant accused of a violation of Subsection (b) on probation under that article, in lieu of requiring the defendant to complete a driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency, shall require the defendant to attend and present proof that the defendant has successfully completed a specialized driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency under the Texas Driver and Traffic Safety Education Act (Article 4413(29c), Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes) that includes four hours of instruction that encourages the use of child passenger safety seat systems and the wearing of seat belts and emphasizes:

(1)  the effectiveness of child passenger safety seat systems and seat belts in reducing the harm to children being transported in motor vehicles; and

(2)  the requirements of this section and the penalty for noncompliance.

(j)  Notwithstanding Section 542.402(a), a municipality or county, at the end of the municipality's or county's fiscal year, shall send to the comptroller an amount equal to 50 percent of the fines collected by the municipality or the county for violations of Subsection (b) of this section. The comptroller shall deposit the amount received to the credit of the tertiary care fund for use by trauma centers.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.115(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 316, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 515, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 618, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 910, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1042, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 204, Sec. 8.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 431, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 913, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 923, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 974, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1257, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  545.414.  Riding In Open Beds; Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates an open-bed pickup truck or an open flatbed truck or draws an open flatbed trailer when a child younger than 18 years of age is occupying the bed of the truck or trailer.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $200.

(c)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person was:

(1)  operating or towing the vehicle in a parade or in an emergency;

(2)  operating the vehicle to transport farmworkers from one field to another field on a farm-to-market road, ranch-to-market road, or county road outside a municipality;

(3)  operating the vehicle on a beach;

(4)  operating a vehicle that is the only vehicle owned or operated by the members of a household; or

(5)  operating the vehicle in a hayride permitted by the governing body of or a law enforcement agency of each county or municipality in which the hayride will occur.

(d)  Compliance or noncompliance with Subsection (a) is not admissible evidence in a civil trial.

(e)  In this section, "household" has the meaning assigned by Section 71.005, Family Code.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 79, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  545.415.  Backing A Vehicle.

(a) An operator may not back the vehicle unless the movement can be made safely and without interference with other traffic.

(b)  An operator may not back the vehicle on a shoulder or roadway of a limited-access or controlled-access highway.

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



Section  545.416.  Riding On Motorcycle.

(a) An operator of a motorcycle shall ride on the permanent and regular seat attached to the motorcycle.

(b)  An operator may not carry another person on the motorcycle, and a person who is not operating the motorcycle may not ride on the motorcycle, unless the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person.

(c)  If the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, a passenger may ride only on the permanent and regular seat, if designed for two persons, or on another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle behind or to the side of the operator.

(d)  Except as provided by Subsection (e), an operator may not carry another person on a motorcycle unless the other person is at least five years of age.  An offense under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $200.  It is a defense to prosecution under this subsection that the operator was operating the motorcycle in an emergency or for a law enforcement purpose.

(e)  Subsection (d) does not prohibit an operator from carrying on a motorcycle a person younger than five years of age who is seated in a sidecar attached to the motorcycle.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1257, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  545.417.  Obstruction Of Operator's View Or Driving Mechanism.

(a) An operator may not drive a vehicle when it is loaded so that, or when the front seat has a number of persons, exceeding three, so that:

(1)  the view of the operator to the front or sides of the vehicle is obstructed; or

(2)  there is interference with the operator's control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.

(b)  A passenger in a vehicle may not ride in a position that interferes with the operator's view to the front or sides or control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.

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



Section  545.418.  Opening Vehicle Doors.

A person may not:

(1)  open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic, unless the door may be opened in reasonable safety without interfering with the movement of other traffic; or

(2)  leave a door on the side of a vehicle next to moving traffic open for longer than is necessary to load or unload a passenger.

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



Section  545.419.  Riding In House Trailer.

A person may not occupy a house trailer while it is being moved.

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



Section  545.4191.  Person Riding In Trailer Or Semitrailer Drawn By Truck, Road Tractor, Or Truck Tractor.

(a) A person may not operate a truck, road tractor, or truck tractor when another person occupies a trailer or semitrailer being drawn by the truck, road tractor, or truck tractor.

(b)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1)  the person was operating or towing the vehicle:

(A)  in a parade or in an emergency;

(B)  to transport farmworkers from one field to another field on a farm-to-market road, ranch-to-market road, or county road outside a municipality; or

(C)  in a hayride permitted by the governing body of or a law enforcement agency of each county or municipality in which the hayride will occur;

(2)  the person operating or towing the vehicle did not know that another person occupied the trailer or semitrailer; or

(3)  the person occupying the trailer or semitrailer was in a part of the trailer or semitrailer designed for human habitation.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 641, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  545.420.  Racing On Highway.

(a) A person may not participate in any manner in:

(1)  a race;

(2)  a vehicle speed competition or contest;

(3)  a drag race or acceleration contest;

(4)  a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle; or

(5)  in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.

(b)  In this section:

(1)  "Drag race" means the operation of:

(A)  two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other; or

(B)  one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same place to the same place, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles in a specified distance or time.

(2)  "Race" means the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to:

(A)  outgain or outdistance another vehicle or prevent another vehicle from passing;

(B)  arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles; or

(C)  test the physical stamina or endurance of an operator over a long-distance driving route.

(c)  [Blank]

(d)  Except as provided by Subsections (e)-(h), an offense under Subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(e)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

(1)  the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense under that subsection; or

(2)  the person, at the time of the offense:

(A)  was operating the vehicle while intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, Penal Code; or

(B)  was in possession of an open container, as defined by Section 49.031, Penal Code.

(f)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a state jail felony if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted two times of an offense under that subsection.

(g)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that as a result of the offense, an individual suffered bodily injury.

(h)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the second degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that as a result of the offense, an individual suffered serious bodily injury or death.

(i)  This subsection applies only to a motor vehicle used in the commission of an offense under this section that results in an accident with property damage or personal injury.  A peace officer shall require the vehicle to be taken to the nearest licensed vehicle storage facility unless the vehicle is seized as evidence, in which case the vehicle may be taken to a storage facility as designated by the peace officer involved.  Notwithstanding Article 18.23, Code of Criminal Procedure, the owner of a motor vehicle that is removed or stored under this subsection is liable for all removal and storage fees incurred and is not entitled to take possession of the vehicle until those fees are paid.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 535, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1258, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  545.421.  Fleeing Or Attempting To Elude Police Officer; Offense.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person operates a motor vehicle and wilfully fails or refuses to bring the vehicle to a stop or flees, or attempts to elude, a pursuing police vehicle when given a visual or audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop.

(b)  A signal under this section that is given by a police officer pursuing a vehicle may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren.  The officer giving the signal must be in uniform and prominently display the officer's badge of office.  The officer's vehicle must bear the insignia of a law enforcement agency, regardless of whether the vehicle displays an emergency light.

(c)  Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d)  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the person, during the commission of the offense, recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

(e)  A person is presumed to have recklessly engaged in conduct placing another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury under Subsection (d) if the person while intoxicated knowingly operated a motor vehicle during the commission of the offense. In this subsection, "intoxicated" has the meaning assigned by Section 49.01, Penal Code.

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

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1280, Sec. 1.21, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  545.422.  Crossing Sidewalk Or Hike And Bike Trail.

(a) A person may not drive a motor vehicle on a sidewalk, sidewalk area, or hike and bike trail except on a permanent or authorized temporary driveway.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle on a hike and bike trail in connection with maintenance of the trail.

(c)  In this section, "hike and bike trail" means a trail designed for the exclusive use of pedestrians, bicyclists, or both.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.116(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  545.423.  Crossing Property.

(a) An operator may not cross a sidewalk or drive through a driveway, parking lot, or business or residential entrance without stopping the vehicle.

(b)  An operator may not cross or drive in or on a sidewalk, driveway, parking lot, or business or residential entrance at an intersection to turn right or left from one highway to another highway.

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



Section  545.424.  Operation Of Vehicle By Person Under 18 Years Of Age.

(a) A person under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle:

(1)  during the 12-month period following issuance of an original Class A, B, or C driver's license to the person:

(A)  after midnight and before 5 a.m. unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the operator to attend or participate in employment or a school-related activity or because of a medical emergency; or

(B)  with more than one passenger in the vehicle under 21 years of age who is not a family member; or

(2)  while using a wireless communications device, except in case of emergency.

(b)  A person under 17 years of age who holds a restricted motorcycle license or moped license, during the 12-month period following the issuance of an original motorcycle license or moped license to the person, may not operate a motorcycle or moped:

(1)  after midnight and before 5 a.m. unless:

(A)  the person is in sight of the person's parent or guardian; or

(B)  the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the operator to attend or participate in employment or a school-related activity or because of a medical emergency; or

(2)  while using a wireless communications device, except in case of emergency.

(c)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  the holder of a hardship license;

(2)  a person operating a motor vehicle while accompanied in the manner required by Section 521.222(d)(2) for the holder of an instruction permit; or

(3)  a person licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to operate a wireless communication device or a radio frequency device.

(d)  For the purposes of this section, employment includes work on a family farm by a member of the family that owns or operates the farm.

(e)  A peace officer may not stop a vehicle or detain the operator of a vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether the operator of the vehicle has violated this section.

(f)  In this section, "wireless communication device" means a handheld or hands-free device that uses commercial mobile service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 332.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1251, Sec. 3, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 357, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1146, Sec. 12.11, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1253, Sec. 18, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 545.425.  Use Of Wireless Communication Device; Offense.

(a) In this section:

(1)  "Hands-free device" means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment, regardless of whether permanently installed in the motor vehicle, that allows use of the wireless communication device without use of either of the operator's hands.

(2)  "Wireless communication device" means a device that uses a commercial mobile service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 332.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), an operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within a school crossing zone, as defined by Section 541.302, Transportation Code, unless:

(1)  the vehicle is stopped; or

(2)  the wireless communication device is used with a hands-free device.

(b-1)  A municipality, county, or other political subdivision that enforces this section shall post a sign that complies with the standards described by this subsection at the entrance to each school crossing zone in the municipality, county, or other political subdivision.  The department shall adopt standards that:

(1)  allow for a sign required to be posted under this subsection to be attached to an existing sign at a minimal cost; and

(2)  require that a sign required to be posted under this subsection inform an operator that:

(A)  the use of a wireless communication device is prohibited in the school crossing zone; and

(B)  the operator is subject to a fine if the operator uses a wireless communication device in the school crossing zone.

(c)  An operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a passenger bus with a minor passenger on the bus unless the passenger bus is stopped.

(d)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section that:

(1)  the wireless communication device was used to make an emergency call to:

(A)  an emergency response service, including a rescue, emergency medical, or hazardous material response service;

(B)  a hospital;

(C)  a fire department;

(D)  a health clinic;

(E)  a medical doctor's office;

(F)  an individual to administer first aid treatment; or

(G)  a police department; or

(2)  a sign required by Subsection (b-1) was not posted at the entrance to the school crossing zone at the time of an offense committed in the school crossing zone.

(e)  This section does not apply to:

(1)  an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle using a wireless communication device while acting in an official capacity; or

(2)  an operator who is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission while operating a radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device.

(f)  This section preempts all local ordinances, rules, or regulations that are inconsistent with specific provisions of this section adopted by a political subdivision of this state relating to the use of a wireless communication device by the operator of a motor vehicle.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 357, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1105, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 545.426.  Operation Of School Bus.

(a) A person may not operate a school bus if:

(1)  the door of the school bus is open; or

(2)  the number of passengers on the bus is greater than the manufacturer's design capacity for the bus.

(b)  An operator of a school bus, while operating the bus, shall prohibit a passenger from:

(1)  standing in the bus; or

(2)  sitting:

(A)  on the floor of the bus; or

(B)  in any location on the bus that is not designed as a seat.

(c)  The department may adopt rules necessary to administer and enforce this section.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 923, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 545.427.  Operation Of Vehicle With Insufficient Undercarriage Clearance.

(a) An operator may not drive on or cross a railroad grade crossing unless the vehicle being operated has sufficient undercarriage clearance.

(b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 424, Sec. 12, eff. January 1, 2008.

Renumbered from Transportation Code, Section 545.426 by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 27.001(108), eff. September 1, 2009.


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