Motorcycle Law | Austin Texas Motorcycle Attorney Blog
In a measure triggered by the 2011 death of a Tarrytown pedestrian, on March 27th, 2013, the Texas Senate approved legislation that would increase the penalty for those drivers who choose to leave the scene of a fatal accident. The vote was unanimous. This report is courtesy of statesman.com.
The legislation repairs a serious loophole in existing Texas law. Up until now, if drivers do not stop after an accident to render aid, they are charged with a third-degree felony. If they are drunk at the scene they face a more serious charge of second-degree felony. If they flee the scene drunk, have time to sober up, and then are charged, the charge is the lesser one of third-degree felony even though they were drunk at the accident scene. If the bill, sponsored in the Senate by Austin’s Senator Kirk Watson, passes the House and is signed into law, this loophole will be fixed.
According to the Associated Press and kvue.com, Senate Bill 275 makes the crime of leaving the scene of an accident a second-degree felony. That more serious charge is the same as the charge for intoxicated manslaughter. According to Watson, drunk drivers were fleeing the scene of serious accidents to keep from being charged with a more serious crime. The loophole was brought to the forefront by a recent accident involving a Capitol staff member who caused the death of an Austin nanny.
If passed, under the new law anyone who leaves the scene of an injury accident could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined $10,000.
Austin motorcycle attorney Ray King at the King Law Firm applauds the bill that would make leaving the scene of an accident a more serious offense. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, or if a loved one has died in a motorcycle accident, and someone else was at fault, contact the King Law Firm by calling (512) 375-4455 for a free consultation.
Motorcycle laws vary from state to state, so it is essential motorcyclists in The Lone Star State understand and are aware of the laws in Texas in order to stay safe and avoid a potential brush with law enforcement when out for a motorcycle ride. As such, Austin motorcycle crash lawyer Ray King, who specifically represents those involved in motorcycle accidents, has gathered information on some important Texas motorcycle laws to help keep motorcyclists safe:
- Helmets: A safety helmet is required for riders under the age of 21. For motorcyclists over the age of 21, riders are not required to wear a helmet with proof of successful completion of rider training or hold medical insurance covering injuries that result from a motorcycle accident.
- Passengers: For young riders, passengers under the age of five are prohibited unless seated in a sidecar attached to the motorcycle. For other passengers, a passenger footrest is not required but a passenger seat is if carrying a passenger.
- Handlebars and headlights: Daytime use of headlights is required unless the motorcycle was manufactured prior to 1975. For handlebars, the handlebar height must be a maximum of 15” above the seat, which is required by inspection regulations.
- Eye protection: Per Texas state law, eye protection is not required.
- Turn signals: Turn signals on motorcycles are required if the model year is 1960 or newer.
Texas motorcycle laws are intended to keep motorcyclists safe, so adhering to these rules and regulations can help ensure you are enjoying your motorcycle for years to come. However, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the reckless actions of another person on the road, call (512) 514-6633 for a no-cost consultation regarding your case. We will help you understand your legal rights and options following an accident.