Did you know that there are approximately 23.7 million licensed drivers in the state of Texas? With that many people on the road, it’s no surprise that some of them forget to follow traffic rules when they’re driving. But, if you break traffic laws in Texas, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself with a ticket in your hand. Here’s a look at five of the most common traffic tickets issued in Texas.
1. Texting/Using Cell Phone While Driving
Over the past decade, texting and using smartphones while behind the wheel has become one of the top driving risks. This has led almost every state in the nation to pass some version of distracted driving laws.
In Texas, texting while driving has been illegal state-wide since 2017. Some parts of the state also restrict the use of handheld cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. However, the laws have not completely curbed this dangerous behavior. With 1.2 deaths per billion miles driven, Texas has one of the highest distracted driving fatality rates in the country.
If you want to avoid getting a ticket and do the right thing, your best bet is just to put the phone down and keep your hands on the wheel.
Driving above the speed limit is a common issue across the country. In Texas, it’s responsible for approximately 34% of traffic deaths. The Texas Department of Transportation has recently announced “Operation SlowDown,” a partnership with law enforcement agencies to remind drivers just how dangerous speeding can be.
When you’re driving in Texas, ease off the gas and follow the speed limits, or you’re very likely to find yourself with a speeding ticket.
3. Failure to Stop/Running a Red Light
There’s a good chance you’ve seen another driver roll through a stop sign or blast through a light as it changes red — but this is never a good idea! Although Texas banned red light cameras in 2019, you’ll still get a ticket if a police officer sees you breaking the law.
Do yourself a favor and watch out for those red lights. Not only are red light traffic tickets annoying and costly, but they can also add points to your license and affect your insurance rates.
4. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
It only takes a quick glance at current drunk driving statistics to see just how dangerous this behavior can be. Sadly, one person dies in a drunk driving-related accident every 50 minutes — that’s about 30 per day, and almost 11,000 per year.
In case you aren’t aware, the national legal blood alcohol limit for drivers is .08%. In the state of Texas, your driver’s license implies consent to a breath or blood alcohol test. If you’re stopped on suspicion of DUI and you refuse the request for a test, your driver's license will be suspended on the spot for 180 days.
It’s also worth mentioning that your first DUI offense in Texas can cost you $2,000 in fines, license suspension for one year, and a minimum of three days in jail.
5. Seatbelts and Child Car Seats
Unlike some other states, in Texas, everyone inside your vehicle needs to be belted in securely. Since September 1, 2009, Chapter 545 of the Texas Transportation Code requires seatbelts for all passengers of every age, no matter where in the car they are riding. So those back seat drivers had better be wearing their seatbelts, or you could face fines and court costs of up to $200.
In addition, car seat laws specify that children eight and younger must be secured in a federally approved restraint seat unless the child is at least four feet, nine inches in height. With heightened efforts put into their “Click it or Ticket” public safety campaign, you can be sure Texas cops are on the lookout for seatbelt violations.
Avoid Texas Traffic Violations
These are just a few of the most common ways you could get a ticket in Texas. If you want to brush up on traffic laws, sign up for an online Texas defensive driving course. It’s a great way to ensure you’re safe and confident behind the wheel.
This article was updated on 8/8/2022