Passed 84th Regular Session
On this page:
- Bicycles & Pedestrians
- Cell Phone Use/Texting while Driving (none passed)
- Crash Information and Investigation
- Driver Education
- Driver Licenses
- DWI/DUI/Underage Drinking and Smoking
- Occupant Protection
- Red Lights, Cameras, and Traffic Signals
- Speed Limits (none passed)
- Legislation Involving the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)
Bicycles & Pedestrians
- HB 4149 Relating to the powers, operations, and boundaries of The Woodlands Township; authorizing a fee (along with a number of similar special district bills).
Synopsis: This language is added to the law authorizing this township: “The safe and efficient movement of people by motor vehicle, rail, trolley, bus, bicycle, pedestrian means, waterborne vessel, or other means of transportation is a public purpose of the district.”
Cell Phone Use/Texting while Driving (none passed)
Crash Information and Investigation
- HB 2633 Relating to the release of a motor vehicle accident report.
Synopsis: HB 2633 amends the Transportation Code to “specify who may receive certain motor vehicle accident reports and information from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) or a governmental entity. The bill would require TxDOT or a governmental entity, upon receiving certain accident report information, to create a redacted accident report that may be requested by any person.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- SB 1287 Relating to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the accreditation of crime laboratories, and the licensing and regulation of forensic analysts; authorizing fees; requiring an occupational license.
Synopsis: SB 1287 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to require the Texas Forensic Science Commission to accredit crime laboratories; establish an occupational license and regulations for Forensic Analysts; authorize a certain fee; establish a method to collect forensic evidence for certain unidentified bodies; and establish an advisory committee to make recommendations on matters related to the licensing of forensic analysts. The bill would require the Texas Forensic Science Commission to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding suggested changes to the licensing of Forensic Analysts by January 1, 2017. (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- HB 1317 Relating to a report on laws, standards, and policies regarding parking for persons with disabilities to be prepared by the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
Synopsis: The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, in coordination with disability advocacy groups and disability-related organizations located in both rural and urban areas of this state, shall review Texas laws that apply to parking for persons with disabilities; laws of other states that apply to parking for persons with disabilities; requirements for parking for persons with disabilities in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) and related federal regulations; the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design; and the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards; and policies on parking for persons with disabilities in state-owned parking lots, including on the grounds of the State Capitol. The committee shall submit a report before November 1, 2016.
- SB 1987 Relating to the issuance of specialty license plates for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and to deaf or hard of hearing driver training for peace officers; authorizing a fee.
Synopsis: When a police officer pulls over a vehicle for a traffic violation, the officer typically approaches the vehicle from the rear using lights and sirens. There is concern that this approach may not adequately alert drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to an officer’s orders or instructions. This may lead the officer to believe that the driver is being obstinate or adversarial when there is simply just a communication barrier. Interested parties note that current mechanisms in place to help an officer identify a driver who is deaf or hard of hearing, such as a driver identification visor card and restriction codes placed on a driver’s license, require the officer to communicate directly with the driver before becoming aware of the fact that the driver is deaf or hard of hearing. S.B. 1987 seeks to remedy this situation. S.B. 1987 amends the Transportation Code to require the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to design and issue specialty license plates for a motor vehicle that is regularly operated by a person who is deaf or hard of hearing. The bill requires such a specialty license plate to include an emblem indicating that the person operating the vehicle is deaf or hard of hearing and establishes an $8 fee for a set of the specialty license plates. The bill requires the initial application for the specialty license plates to be accompanied by a written statement from a physician who is licensed to practice medicine in Texas or in a state adjacent to Texas or who is authorized by applicable law to practice medicine in a hospital or other health facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs and requires the statement to certify that the person making the application is deaf or hard of hearing. S.B. 1987 amends the Occupations Code to require the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), as part of the minimum curriculum requirements for law enforcement training programs and schools, to establish not later than March 1, 2016, a statewide comprehensive education and training program on procedures for interacting with drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing, including identifying specialty license plates issued to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. The bill requires an officer to complete the program not later than the second anniversary of the date the officer is licensed by TCOLE or the date the officer applies for an intermediate proficiency certificate, whichever date is earlier. (Source: Bill Analysis)
- HB 1786 Relating to the transfer of driver and traffic safety education from the Texas Education Agency and the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; changing the amounts of certain fees.
Synopsis: “The bill would transfer the duties and responsibilities of administering the Driver and Traffic Safety Education Program from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The bill would require the Commission of Licensing and Regulation to establish an advisory committee to provide technical expertise from the driver training industry. The bill would remove the statutory requirement to license driver training school directors, assistant directors, and administrative staff, remove the fixed driver training fee amounts and fee caps from statute, and increase the statute’s maximum administrative penalty. The bill would also require TDLR to maintain information on driver training complaints and to use the State Office of Administrative Hearings to conduct hearings on driver training enforcement cases. The bill, and specifically Section 26, all functions of the Parent Taught Driver Education (PTDE) program approval, auditing, and overview from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to TDLR. The bill would take effect September 1, 2015.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- HB 2708 Relating to the qualifications for teaching a driver education course.
Synopsis: The bill amends the law regarding the requirements for a driver ed teacher by striking the provision that “the person conducting the course not be disabled because of mental illness.”
- HB 441 Relating to the use of a court order as an occupational license.
Synopsis: The bill amends the Transportation Code to increase the time in which a person may use a copy of a court order granting an occupational license to 45 days after the date the order takes effect. (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- HB 1080 Relating to the definition of a state judge for purposes of state driver’s license and personal identification laws.
Synopsis: The bill amends Section 521 of the the Transportation Code to add statutory probate court judges and certain associate judges to the list of judges defined as “state judge.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- HB 1888 Relating to commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permits and the operation of commercial motor vehicles; authorizing a fee; increasing a penalty.
Synopsis: The bill amends the Transportation Code to:
- Change the punishment for operating a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver’s license from a Class C misdemeanor to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, or a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 in the event that the offender had been convicted of the same offense within the previous year.
- Require both thumbprints and fingerprints as part of an individual’s application for a personal identification certificate, driver’s license, or commercial driver’s license or permit. It is assumed any costs associated with implementing the bill could be absorbed within current resources.
- Authorize a court to assess an administrative fee of $10 if a case involving a failure to carry a license was dismissed.
- Set the fee amount for the issuance or renewal of a commercial learner’s permit at $24 and the fee amount for the administration of a skills test to a person who is not domiciled in this state at $60.
- Set the fee amount at $24 for a commercial learner’s permit issued to certain sex offenders.
- Repeal a fee for renewing a license with a motorcycle authorization. (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- SB 1756 Relating to the issuance of driver’s licenses and personal identification certificates and the classification and operation of certain vehicles; authorizing a fee.
Synopsis: The bill amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to enter into an agreement with a county to permit county employees to provide services at a county office relating to the issuance of renewal and duplicate driver’s licenses, election identification certificates and personal identification certificates. (Source: Fiscal Analysis). It also authorizes a new kind of motorcycle — one example is the Toyota iRoad.
DWI/DUI/Underage Drinking and Smoking
- HB 1264 Relating to the preservation of toxicological evidence collected in connection with certain intoxication offenses.
Synopsis: Sets out retention and preservation periods for blood or urine specimen that was
collected as part of an investigation of an alleged offense.
- HB 642 Relating to an alcohol awareness program or drug education program for certain minors convicted of or adjudicated to have engaged in, or placed on deferred disposition or community supervision for, certain drug or alcohol related offenses; authorizing a fee.
Synopsis: The bill amends “the Code of Criminal Procedure and Family Code to permit a judge to require certain defendants, as a condition of community supervision, to attend and complete an alcohol awareness program, approved under Section 106.115, Alcoholic Beverage Code or drug education program, approved by the Department of State Health Services. The bill would require a judge to order the defendant to pay the cost of attending the program, unless the defendant is found to be indigent or unable to pay the cost. Under certain circumstances, the judge would be permitted to require the defendant’s parent or guardian to pay the cost of attending the program. Under the provisions of the bill, the Department of State Health Services would be responsible for the administration of the program, provide training to a person who provides the program, and would be required to adopt rules regarding the drug education program.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- HB 2246 Relating to the restriction of certain intoxication offenders to the operation of a motor vehicle with an ignition interlock device in lieu of a license suspension.
Synopsis: “HB 2246 allows any drunk driver to go on an ignition interlock for 90 days to one year in lieu of an administratively imposed license suspension after a drunk driving arrest.” (Source: Bandera Courier. See also Dallas Morning News editorial.)
- HB 3791 Relating to the provision of recordings of certain interactions with a peace officer relating to intoxication offenses.
Synopsis: A person stopped or arrested on suspicion of an intoxication arrest is entitled to the law enforcement agency’s video of the stop.
- SB 172 Relating to the addition of certain substances to Penalty Groups 1-A and 2 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act for criminal prosecution and other purposes.
Synopsis: “S.B. 172 amends the Health and Safety Code to expand the definition of “abuse unit” for purposes of the Texas Controlled Substances Act to include 40 micrograms of a controlled substance in solid form, including any adulterant or dilutant. The bill adds certain substances to the controlled substances listed in Penalty Groups 1-A and 2 of the act, removes certain substances from the controlled substances listed in Penalty Group 2, and establishes that, to the extent the bill’s provisions adding certain substances to each penalty group conflict with another law, the other law prevails. The bill establishes that if a substance listed in Penalty Group 2 is also listed in another penalty group, the listing in the other group controls. The bill establishes that, if a substance listed in Penalty Group 2 is approved by the Federal Drug Administration, the inclusion of that substance in that penalty group does not apply and prohibits the conviction of a person for the manufacture, delivery, or possession of the substance.” (Source: Bill Analysis)
- SB 97 Relating to regulation of the sale, distribution, possession, use, and advertising of e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and tobacco products; amending provisions subject to a criminal penalty.
Synopsis: The bill amends the Health and Safety Code to “treat e-cigarettes in a similar manner as cigarettes as it relates to distribution, use by minors, and prevention of use by minors. The bill would create requirements relating to the packaging of e-cigarette nicotine containers and the delivery sale of e-cigarettes. The bill would amend Chapter 28, Education Code to require school districts to publish information regarding policies relating to the use of e-cigarettes. The bill would amend Chapter 38, Education Code and Chapter 48, Penal Code to treat e-cigarettes in the same manner as cigarettes as they relate to use and possession at school-related activities and use in public places.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- SB 1070 Relating to allowing certain defendants to successfully complete education at a substance abuse treatment facility in lieu of attending an education program; changing required conditions of community supervision for certain defendants.
Synopsis: S.B. 1070 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to require a judge to waive certain educational requirements for a defendant who is required to receive treatment as a resident of a substance abuse treatment facility as a condition of community supervision if the defendant successfully completes equivalent education while the defendant is confined to the residential treatment facility. The bill requires the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to approve equivalent education provided at substance abuse treatment facilities and requires the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to adopt rules to implement these requirements. The bill requires the judge, for a defendant convicted of certain intoxication offenses, to set out in the judgment the finding that the defendant has successfully completed the equivalent education, if applicable. The bill requires the director of the residential treatment facility at which a defendant convicted of certain intoxication offenses successfully completed the equivalent education, upon release of the defendant and at the request of the court clerk, to give notice to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for inclusion in the person’s driving record.
S.B. 1070 amends the Transportation Code to authorize a person whose license is automatically suspended for certain drug offenses, as an alternative to attending an educational program that is designed to educate persons on the dangers of drug abuse, to successfully complete education on the dangers of drug abuse approved by DSHS as equivalent to that educational program while the person is a resident of a facility for the treatment of drug abuse or chemical dependency. The bill requires DPS and the executive commissioner of HHSC to jointly adopt rules for the qualification and approval of equivalent education provided in a residential treatment facility as specified by the bill and specifies provisions relating to the duties of DSHS in overseeing those programs. The bill requires DPS to reinstate a person’s license upon receipt of notice that the person successfully completed the equivalent education under the bill’s provisions, if the person meets all other applicable requirements.” (Source: Bill Analysis)
- HB 121 Relating to an alternative means of payment of certain past due criminal fines and court costs.
Synopsis: If a capias pro fine has been issued, the court may authorize a peace officer executing the capias pro fine to inform the defendant of the opportunity to pay immediately by credit or debit card and alternatives to immediate payment.
- SB 449 Relating to the titling, registration, and operation of an autocycle.
Synopsis: An “autocycle” is defined as having a steering while, up to three wheels on the ground, and may have a different seating arrangement than a motorcycle. See, for example, the Polaris Slingshot.
- SB 754 Relating to the use of money in the motorcycle education fund account for certain motorcycle safety programs.
Synopsis: Money deposited to the credit of the motorcycle education fund account may be used only to defray the cost of administering the motorcycle operator training and safety program and conducting the motorcyclist safety and share the road campaign described by Transportation Code Section 201.621. (Note: in the General Appropriations Act, $4.1 million from the Motorcycle Safety Account No. 501 is appropriated to the Department of Public Safety to replace previous funding from the State Highway Fund. Source: Summary of Conference Committee Report on HB 1, p. 100) (The General Appropriations Act appropriates $2,062,500 each year from the Motorcycle Education Account. Source: Conference Committee Report on HB 1.)
- SB 1918 Relating to the use of certain lighting equipment on motorcycles.
Synopsis: A person may operate a motorcycle equipped with LED ground effect lighting that emits a non-flashing amber or white light toward the ground or the body of the motorcycle.
- SB 1756 see description above.
- HB 2574 Relating to increasing awareness of the danger of heatstroke for a child left unattended in a motor vehicle.
Synopsis: HB 2574 requires “that resource materials currently distributed to parents by providers of childbirth services include information on the danger of heatstroke to a child left unattended in a vehicle.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
- HB 2194 Relating to the offense of leaving a motor vehicle unattended.
Synopsis: Current law prohibits an operator from leaving a 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. HB 2194 removes the first three requirements if the operator uses a remote starter that must be in the vehicle when it is started but does not require placing the key in the ignition.
Red Lights, Cameras, and Traffic Signals
- HB 745 Relating to the installation of solar-powered stop signs by a property owners’ association.
Synopsis: The bill authorizes property owners’ associations to install solar powered LED stop signs.
- HB 1542 Relating to the use of digital message display systems in certain public facilities.
Synopsis: HB 1542 authorizes “the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or the commissioners court of a county to enter into an agreement with a public or private entity for a digital message display system to report department or county information, news, and approved digital advertisements in publicly accessible areas of a DPS drivers license office, DMV facility, county tax assessor-collector office, or a jury assembly room.” (Source: Fiscal Analysis)
Speed Limits (none passed)
Legislation Involving the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)
- PASSED: HB 790 Relating to a study on the implementation and effectiveness of sound mitigation measures on certain highways.
- VETOED: SB 1032 (HB 1839) Relating to authority for certain state employees to work flexible hours and to work from home or other authorized alternative work sites.
- VETOED: HB 1119 Relating to a study assessing the statewide need for the replacement of mile markers on certain highways.
- DID NOT PASS: HB 1121/SB 1239 Relating to a study on the implementation of a traffic light synchronization program.
- DID NOT PASS: HB 2406/HB 1 rider Relating to the study of certain municipal transit systems by the Texas Transportation Institute. [Arlington & Grand Prairie]