Texas Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • A nonresident can apply for a concealed handgun license, if licensed in his/her home state, home state’s licensing requirements are as rigorous as Texas, and home state allows a person with a Texas license to apply for a license.
  • Texas repealed its motorcycle helmet law in 1997 for cyclists 21 years of age or older. However, in order for residents or nonresidents to go helmetless, they must have proof of $10,000 in medical insurance or proof that they have taken a motorcycle safety course which meets the standards of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
  • On many rural highways in Texas, there is a full width paved shoulder, mainly as a breakdown lane. However, it is legal to travel on that shoulder for specific purposes. Mainly, it is used by a slow car to allow faster cars behind it to pass safely without changing into the oncoming lane. This allows cars to pass slow traffic in no-pass zones or with heavy oncoming traffic. Care must be taken not to use this lane when cresting hills because over the crest may be a parked disabled car on the shoulder.
  • Motorists who receive a traffic ticket involving LIDAR may find this link helpful.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 75 (80 or 85 on specified segments), Trucks 75 (80 or 85 on specified segments)
Urban Interstates: Cars 75, Trucks 75
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 75, Trucks 75

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are presumed. (Driving faster than the speed limit is only evidence of unreasonable speed–you can still argue that your speed was safe under the specific conditions.)

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: No
Automated Speed Enforcement: Yes
Aircraft: No
Laser: Yes

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed

You have to wait until the day of your hearing/initial appearance to request Discovery

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact

Member of Driver License Compact

When and Where to File Accident Reports
Accidents involving death, personal injury, or property damage exceeding $500 must be reported immediately to the local authorities and other accidents require a written report within 10 days to Statistical Services, Texas Department of Public Safety, P.O. Box 4087, Austin, TX 78773.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $25,000
All injuries: $50,000
Property Damage: $25,000

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: Drivers in school crossing zones
All Cell Phone Ban: Bus drivers. Drivers younger than 18
Texting Ban: Bus drivers when a passenger 17 and younger is present; intermediate license holders for first 12 months, drivers in school crossing zones
Enforcement: Primary: for all offenses

Other Regulations

  • The BAC level is .08%.
  • Texas has an administrative license suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 90-day driver’s license suspension.
  • Studded tires (only those that will not damage the highway and made of rubber) are permitted.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • Texas has a seat belt law with primary enforcement for all front seat occupants.
  • Texas has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 5 years of age. Children under age 2 must use approved car safety seats.

General Information
Telephone: 512/424-2000 (Department Of Public Safety)
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: *DPS or 911