Texas DPS Releases 2012 Driver’s Handbook

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The Texas Department of Public Safety recently released a new driver’s handbook for Texas residents that encompass some of the driving law changes from 2011 and previous years that were not noted in the older handbook. Comedy Driving, a defensive driving school in Texas, has compiled a list of controversial laws and a few others changes in the new handbook to pay attention to.

The move over law now applies to tow trucks that add red flashing lights to their vehicle as well as emergency vehicles. This law states that motorists must move over a lane when passing emergency vehicles, or wreckers, with active lights or they can drop their speed by 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit if they are unable to move over lanes.

Nighttime speed limits have now been nullified across Texas. Texas was one of the only states to have nighttime speed limits that differed from daytime speeds and have revoked these limits as of September 1, 2011. Texas also has a new maximum speed limit of 85 miles per hour on roads designated as such, which makes Texas the state with the highest legal speed limit in the United States.

One hot spot for the 85 miles per hour speed limit is a section of a tollway that is scheduled to be completed later this year that runs east of San Antonio to Austin. There are many that oppose the top speed and question its safety; still there are those enthusiasts that cannot wait for that section of the toll to be complete. More information on the speed limit for Texas highways can be found on page 49 of the Texas Driver’s Handbook.

Drivers 18 to 25 year old must now complete a driver education course. This course is different from the typical learner’s permit course completed when 16 year olds learn to drive. The course for 18 to 25 year olds is a mandatory course that has to be completed to obtain or renew a driver’s license. The course is an additional 6 hours of driver education.

Many changes and revisions include past regulations and driving right-of-way rules that help to refresh drivers on the basics. Knowing the basics is important because driving is a habit that is used so often that people may forget the rules after driving a certain way for so long. For example many drivers still believe it is legal to go 5 over the speed limit when in fact drivers in Texas can be ticketed for merely going 1 mile over the posted maximum speed limit.

Another reason to refresh on the laws is the ignorance is not a defense for a traffic ticket because drivers are required to refresh their knowledge on the ever-changing driving laws whenever new laws are issued.

There are several websites to help drivers become informed such as http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Search.aspx, which is a searchable database on Texas regulations. Even defensive driving courses like Comedy Driving are helpful because they teach good driving habits in an entertaining way.

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Jeffrey Bitner
Comedy Driving Inc
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