Police Enforcing New Statewide Traffic Laws

September 23, 2009

Bellaire traffic cops have a message for you if you’re unbuckled in the backseat, or if your darkly tinted windows are missing a new validation sticker: We’re watching out for you.

Bellaire City Manager Bernie Satterwhite at Monday night’s city council meeting reminded council members that the police department has begun enforcing new state traffic laws that went into effect on Sept. 1.

He said police will ticket drivers if any passenger in the vehicle is riding without a seatbelt, in accordance with House Bill 537. Previously, adult passengers could skip buckling up in the backseat.

Bellaire residents with children younger than 8 must now put them in approved child safety seats, unless the child is at least 4 foot 9 inches tall. This rule is courtesy of Senate Bill 61. If your kid is caught without a child seat, your first offense would cost $25, the second one $250. These fines help the Texas Department of Transportation to purchase safety seats for low-income families.

Another well-publicized offense that Bellaire police will be watching for deals with talking on cell phones while driving through school zones. House Bill 55 says it is prohibited, unless the driver uses a hands-free kit.

“So, put your cell phone away when you’re in a school zone,” Satterwhite said.

Police will also watch for vehicles with darkly tinted windows. Senate Bill 589 states that cars must have stickers to verify that the tint complies with safety codes.

“Police tell me there are a lot of cars out there where the darkness of the tinting exceeds the law,” Satterwhite said. Tinted windows without stickers can lead to fines of $1,000.

Click here for more information (PDF) about other new traffic and criminal laws that went into effect on Sept. 1.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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