The Texas Department of Public Safety is alerting drivers to a set of new and updated traffic laws that went into effect on Sept. 1.
The fine for failing to stop for a school bus has risen from $200 to $500, but can carry a maximum fine of up to $1,250.
Also under the new mandates, school property is now also a cell-free school zone, not just the roadways around schools. That means even if you are pulling into the school parking lot, you must stay off your phone. The new rule carries a $200 fine.
"We teach our children to look for cars, but they don't always do that, so it's up to us to look for the children," Trooper Robbie Barrera with DPS said.
The penalty for leaving the scene of a serious accident has also been increased from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree, a measure enacted in memory of Courtney Griffin, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Austin in May 2011.
“As a result of these new provisions, Texans now have additional protection while traveling our roadways, and individuals who disregard our laws will face tougher penalties for a variety of crimes,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS encourages all residents to educate themselves about the laws affecting their lives and to do their part in keeping Texas safe.”
DPS troopers are offering a grace period until Jan. 1, 2014 to make sure everyone is aware of the changes.
For a full list of changes to Texas laws being highlighted by DPS, go to the department’s website.