New vehicle safety laws

Written by Andrew Traub

August 20, 2009

The seat belt law is one of several driving that take effect Sept. 1. Others include:

  • Children under 8 have to be in a child safety seat or a booster seat unless they are 4 feet 9 inches tall. Under the current law, only children under 5 and shorter than 36 inches have to he in a child safety seat.   Though the law becomes effective Septempber 1, tickets cannot be issued until June 2010.
  • Children under 5 may not ride on a motorcycle, though they may ride in a sidecar.
  • People riding in 15-passenger vans must use seat belts and child safety seats as required in other vehicles.  Before, only drivers of the vans were required to wear seat belts.
  • Drivers may not use cell phones in school zones unless they use a hands-free device. (There is some debate as to whether local governments can get around this law by not installing warning signs. The City of Austin plans to install signs).

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