Our State Rolls Out the New Texas Driving Laws

Lewisville VW is proud to be a Texas-based VW dealership. The new Texas driving laws were rolled out starting at midnight on September 1. Now that we have had some time to watch the changes take effect, here’s the lowdown on exactly what changed – and what the changes mean for you.

Speed Limits

A barrage of new speed limit laws went into effect with the new traffic policies. Speed limits on beaches were lowered to 15 mph. School buses with commercial vehicle inspection stickers will now be able to go 60 mph on highways, while school buses without those stickers will be allowed a maximum speed of 50 mph. Large trucks and school activity buses will now be able to travel the same speed as cars on the highways, while lower speeds for large vehicles will continue to be maintained on back roads.

Perhaps the most widely-reported change is the new maximum highway speed limit of 85 mph. TxDOT is in the process of conducting a speed study and will raise the speed limit on appropriate roadways where it is deemed safe. If you’ve got a new (or new-to-you) VW to test, that higher speed limit could be just the ticket. Just be safe out there!

Expect to see changes made over the next few months. Keep a close eye on speed limit signs in your area, as many of them could change from one day to the next. You’ll see minimum speed limit signs changed and nighttime speed limit signs removed across the state. Remember that a higher speed limit does not equal permission for dangerous or unsafe driving practices.

 Seatbelt Laws

Previous seatbelt laws were extended in the new provisions to include every child in the vehicle, no matter where they are seated. Any child younger than the age of 15 must be restrained in a manner suitable to their size and weight. No exceptions! Children over 12 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall may graduate from booster seats to seatbelts as long as that seatbelt fits them securely – across the upper thighs, not across the stomach.

Other Tidbits

Legislation to increase the driving age was introduced but not passed; the legal driving age remains 16 in the state of Texas. The DWI threshold has been dropped from 0.10 to 0.08 blood-alcohol concentration. Vehicle inspection fees have been increased; and new driver’s license and ID cards will include a writeable surface where card holders can fill in an emergency contact number, along with space for physician instructions and/or drug and allergy warnings.

Want a hand staying up-to-date on changing traffic safety laws? Keep up to date by following our blog or join one of our social networks on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Driving and Texting: The Dangers

Driving and Texting

At Lewisville VW, we’re advocates for our customers’ safety. The dangers of drinking and driving are well documented, but did you know it can actually be more dangerous to text while driving? Here’s the rundown on the frightening facts about “distracted driving.”

“Distracted Driving”

driving and texting“Distracted driving” happens when you undertake any activity while driving that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving. Far and away the most common distracted driving activity (besides eating or drinking) is the use of a cell phone or PDA, usually to text. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 20 percent of injury-producing crashes in 2009 involved distracted driving. That year, 5,494 people died on our roads as a result of distracted drivers and an additional 448,000 were injured. Eighteen percent of fatalities in those crashes were linked directly to cell phone distractions.

Increasing Popularity

Though the stats aren’t in for 2010 or 2011, those numbers most likely have increased. According to Mobile Thinking, the sale of mobile devices went up in 2010, with “smartphones showing the strongest growth.” Half a billion people accessed the web via their phones in 2009 and that number is expected to jump over the next five years, until mobile technologies are more popular than PCs when it comes to Internet access. According to Portio Research, over 8 million text messages will be sent in 2011. As helpful as these new technologies are, they’ve exponentially increased the odds of distracted driving.

Would You Drive Drunk?

Back in 2009, the folks at Car and Driver magazine conducted a simple experiment based on two case studies. The results were telling enough to be picked up by NBC News. Using a closed course, they measured the reaction time of two test subjects – one 22 years old and the other 37 years old – using a red light mounted on the windshield to simulate brake lights. They tested each subject while driving undistracted, then again while checking email, and yet again after drinking enough vodka-and-orange-juice screwdrivers to test at the legal limit for intoxication.

The frightening results: Car and Driver writer Eddie Alterman (one of the valiant test subjects) took .54 seconds to brake the car while unimpaired. Intoxication added 4 feet before he braked. By comparison, reading (text or email) added 36 feet and actively texting added a horrifying 70 feet before Eddie responded to the brake light. Folks, it’s frighteningly simple: using any device to text while driving is not something to be trifled with. Keep yourself, your family, and your fellow drivers safe on the roads.

Want to know more about texting while driving or about Lewisville VW? Keep up to date by following our blog or join one of our social networks on Twitter or Facebook.