Texas

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban drivers in school crossing zones and on public school property during the time the reduced speed limit applies
Young drivers all cellphone ban drivers younger than 18
Texting ban drivers in school crossing zones and on public school property during the time the reduced speed limit applies; bus drivers with minor passengers; drivers younger than 18
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 75; 80 or 85 on specified segment of road1
Urban interstates (mph) 75
Other limited access roads (mph) 75
Other roads (mph) 75
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 152
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 30 hours, 10 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 163
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions midnight-5 a.m. secondary enforcement
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
no more than 1 passenger younger than 21 secondary enforcement
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions until age 18 (min. age: 18)
Passenger restrictions until age 18 (min. age: 18)
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 6 years
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal 2 years for drivers 85 and older
Other provisions mail or electronic renewal not available to people 79 and older
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches
Adult safety belt permissible not permissible
Maximum fine 1st offense $25 minimum; maximum unlisted
Seating preference law states no preference for rear seat
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 09/01/85
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 09/01/85
Who is covered? In what seats? 7 years and younger who are 57 inches or taller; 8+ years in all seats
Maximum fine 1st offense $200
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? no
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered 20 and younger4
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law no law
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes
Gaps in coverage people 18 and older; vehicles that are the only vehicles owned by members of the household; vehicles in parades, hay rides, or on beaches, or being used in an emergency; vehicles in farm operations used to transport people from field to field or on farm
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 35 mph
MEDIUM-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are medium-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted limit of 45 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for medium-speed vehicles? 35 mph
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? statewide; requires local ordinance
Violations red light
Citations issued to whom? registered owner
Who is liable? owner
What image is taken? 2 or more photographic or digital images of tag
Traditional enforcement penalty $200 maximum fine
Auto enforcement penalties/record $75; not a criminal or record offense

1Sections of I-10 and I-20 in West Texas and sections of Highway 45 in Travis County have a speed limit for passenger cars and light trucks of 80 mph. Speed limits of up to 85 mph may be established if the highway is originally constructed and designed to accommodate the higher speed and it has been determined by an engineering study to be reasonable and safe. State Highway 130 (portions toll) has a posted limit of 85 mph, effective Oct. 2012.

2In Texas, people who are 15 or older but under 18 must satisfactorily complete and pass the classroom phase of an approved driver education course to be issued a permit.

3In Texas, the minimum license age is 18 for applicants who have not completed driver education.

4Texas exempts riders 21 or older if they can either show proof of successfully completing a motorcycle operator training and safety course or can show proof of having a medical insurance policy. A peace officer may not stop or detain a person who is the operator of or a passenger on a motorcycle for the sole purpose of determining whether the person has successfully completed the motorcycle operator training and safety course or is covered by a health insurance plan.