EARLY, Texas - As of the beginning of September, new laws from the 83rd Texas legislature have been implemented across the state.
Brown County's Early Police Department wants to remind people of some changes to traffic policies that will enable them to be safer drivers.
One of the main traffic laws Early Chief of Police David Mercer said he wants the public to keep in mind is staying off cell phones in school zones.
"A lot of people will just be talking on their phone and they go into the school zone and they're not paying attention," Chief Mercer said. "Now, we have signs in place that say use of cell phones is prohibited. It not only applies to the school zone on the streets, it also applies to the parking lots."
Chief Mercer said parents cannot be talking on their cell phones when they pull up to pick up and drop off their kids at school unless the car is parked. He also said officers will be monitoring campuses more closely to enforce this law. Failure to comply can result in a $200 penalty fine.
Another issue is in regards to school bus safety. If you see a school bus on the side of the road with its flashing red lights on, you are required to stop, regardless of the direction you're traveling. The exception to that law is if there is a barrier divider between the roads.
"A lot of the times, the opposite side of the roadway won't stop because they think it's a wide enough highway or whatever, but that's not true," Chief Mercer said. "We just want to make the highways safer, and sometimes there are school crossings right in the middle."
The change to this law is the increase in penalty fees. The minimum fine is now $500 and the maximum fine is $1,250.
For information on the laws you need to be aware of, visit http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/pr082913.htm
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