Texas Traffic Laws (9 Laws Every Driver Should Know)

Texas Traffic Laws (9 Laws Every Driver Should Know)

How many Texas traffic laws do you know?


Just a few?

If you aren’t well-versed with the traffic laws in Texas, then you might get in trouble. 

And no one wants that! 

This is why, here, we’re going to go over 9 Texas traffic laws that every driver should know about. This includes:

  • Right of way
  • Parking
  • Speed limits
  • Cell phone use
  • Accidents
  • Car seats
  • Seat belts
  • Open beds
  • Cargo and materials

Knowing these laws not only makes you a safer driver — but also prevents you from getting those annoying traffic tickets and fines, as well as harsher penalties. 

So let’s go over these 9 Texas traffic laws one by one. 

Texas Right of Way Laws

When are you supposed to yield to other vehicles? 

Here are some instances when you should give way:

  • When you are entering a divided road or one that has three or more lanes.
  • When you are coming from an unpaved road and are entering a paved road.
  • To vehicles who enter the intersection first if you are at an intersection with no traffic signs or lights.
  • To vehicles going straight if you need to make a turn at the intersection.
  • When entering a road and you’re coming from a private road, alley, or building.
  • If you are entering from the right of a road with three or more lanes.
  • On railroad crossings when you hear or see a train approaching.
  • When you encounter emergency vehicles. You must pull to the rightmost lane or make a stop on the side to let them pass. 
  • When a school bus has its red flashing lights turned on or has its stopped sign shown outside. Vehicles that are behind the school bus and are approaching the school bus from an undivided roadway are required to stop. 
  • When pedestrians cross, even when they aren’t on a crosswalk.

If you don’t obey these right-of-way laws and cause an accident, the penalty is a fine from $500 to $2,000. 

If you cause an injury to someone else, the fine goes up from $1,000 to $4,000.

Texas Parking Laws

Can you name a few places where you can’t park?

In Texas, there are many places where it’s illegal to park, stop, or stand. Parking in these areas will give you a citation and varying fines, depending on the city you’re in.  

So to avoid these penalties, here are places where you should not park:

  • On a sidewalk or crosswalk.
  • On the side of the road, curb, or edge of the road.
  • Within an intersection.
  • Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.
  • In front of a public or private driveway.
  • On any railroad track.
  • 50 feet from the nearest railroad crossing.
  • Between a safety zone and an adjacent curb and within 30 feet of the curb opposite a safety zone.
  • Alongside or opposite a street excavation. 
  • On a bridge or elevated structure on a highway or tunnel.
  • Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
  • Within 30 feet of any flashing signal, stop/yield sign, or other traffic control signs.
  • Within 20 feet from the entrance of a fire station and within 75 feet from the opposite side of a fire station entrance.
  • On parking areas designated for disabled individuals, unless you are disabled. 

Illegally parking in places for disabled individuals will get you a fine of $500 – $750 on the first few offenses. If you already have 5 or more offenses, the fine goes up to $1,250.

Texas Speed Limits

As a general rule, you are supposed to drive at the same speed as the rest of the traffic. 

Driving too fast (even within the speed limit) can be dangerous, especially when there are a lot of vehicles. 

That said, here are the maximum speed limits for different areas: 

RoadwaySpeed Limit (mph)
Alley 15
Beaches and County Roads adjacent to a public beach15
Highways numbered by Texas or the US outside an urban district

– Passenger cars, motorcycles, light trucks, trucks or truck-tractor
– School buses

Highways not numbered by Texas or the US outside an urban district

– Passenger cars, motorcycles, light trucks, trucks or truck-tractor
– School buses

Urban district30

The penalties for going over the speed limit will depend on how many miles you went over the limit. 

Check out the table below. 

Miles per hour over the speed limitFine
30 and above$300

Texas Cell Phone Law

In Texas, it’s illegal to read, write, or send text messages using a cell phone or any wireless portable electronic device when driving. 

You are also not allowed to take calls from your phone. 

Some exceptions include using a phone:

  • When it’s in hands-free mode
  • For navigation
  • To play music
  • To contact emergency or police, or when you receive a message indicating an emergency
  • For law enforcement and authorized emergency representatives
  • For operators licensed by the Federal Communications Commission

Drivers below 18 years old are not allowed to use any handheld devices at all, even if it’s in hands-free mode. 

Violating the cell phone law is a misdemeanor with a fine of $25 – $99. For the second and subsequent offenses, the fine is $100 – $200. 

Texas Car Accident Laws

Even if you are a defensive driver, collisions can still happen. 

So, in the case of a crash, it’s important to know that you are required by law to stop and report the incident. 

Here are other things you have to do: 

  1. Provide your name, address, vehicle registration number, and motor vehicle liability insurer to the person involved in the collision.
  1. Show your driver’s license to the law officer if requested.
  1. If the vehicle is unattended, you need to locate the operator or leave your name and address so you can be contacted. 

Penalties differ based on the damages during the crash. 

Here are the penalties for a crash resulting in injury or death of a person:

1st offense resulting in a deathSecond-degree felony2-20 yearsUp to $10,000
1st offense resulting in serious bodily injuryThird-degree felony2-10 yearsUp to $10,000
1st offense resulting in injuryN/AUp to 5 yearsUp to $5,000

And here are the penalties for crashes that result in damages to the vehicle:

1st offense (less than $200 in damages)Class C misdemeanorUp to $500
1st offense ($200 or more in damages)Class B misdemeanor, jail for up to 180 daysUp to $2,000

Texas Car Seat Laws

All children below 8 years old are required to be in the proper car safety restraint unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. 

The recommended safety restraints are as follows: 

  • Rear-facing car seat for children up to 2 years old or until they outgrow the weight and height limit of the car seat.
  • Front-facing car seat for children 2 to 4 or until they outgrow the weight and height limit of the car seat.
  • Booster seat for children 4 to 8 or until they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height. 

The penalty for not having a child safely restrained is a fine of up to $250 per offense. 

Texas Seat Belt Law

Remembering the seat belt law is easy. 

Just know that the driver and all passengers, regardless of age or where they are seated, are required to wear a seat belt

Violating this law will get a fine of $25-$50 per offense. If the passenger is under 17 years old, the driver will be fined $100-$200. 

Texas Open Bed Law

Did you know that you’re not allowed to have a child on the open bed of a truck or trailer?

Texas law states that those who are below 18 are not allowed to be in an open bed of any vehicle unless: 

  • It’s for a parade or emergency
  • It’s for transporting farm workers from one field to another
  • It’s on a beach
  • It’s the only vehicle operated by members of the household
  • It’s for a hayride allowed by the government

Drivers who violate this law will be fined $25-$200. 

Texas Cargo and Materials Law

To ensure that no cargo falls on the road, Texas requires all motorists to comply with the proper transporting and storing of loose materials.

Vehicles are required to: 

  • Not have any holes, cracks, or any other openings where loose materials can escape
  • Be enclosed by side panels on the front
  • Be enclosed by a securely closed tailgate or panel at the rear
  • Cover the load securely

Safety chains are also required for towing trailers. This is so that the trailer doesn’t break loose and cause injuries and death to people on the road. 

Violating this law will lead to a fine from $25-$500 and is considered a misdemeanor. 


So those were the 9 Texas traffic laws that YOU should know and obey. 

And when you do, rest assured that you’ll become a better and safer driver. 

Moreover, you’ll be able to avoid the penalties. 

Always choose to drive safely!

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