Calls bountiful on traffic law changes
Big Thicket Messenger - August 2007
An e-mail hoax warning of fake new traffic laws and huge lines in Texas has prompted thousands of calls and e-mails to the State Department of Public Safety.
The e-mail, which DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said is entirely false, warns of drastic increases in fines for violations as of July 1 and that Texas drivers are now required to use hands-free devices for their cell phones while driving.
“The phones started ringing off the hook Friday morning,” Mange said.
The e-mail, which has apparently made its way to thousands of inboxes across the state, claims to be a list of new traffic laws.
It claims an incorrect lane change could result in a $380 fine. Drivers, it says, must use a hands-free cell phone device or face a fine of $285. Driving more than 3 mph over the speed limit will lead to a speeding ticket, the e-mail said.
After getting flooded with calls, DPS posted a public alert on its Web site warning the e-mail is a hoax.
The Legislature did not pass any new laws limiting cell phone use in cars, and most of the traffic laws legislators approved take effect on September 1.
Among the new laws that really take effect are new vision and driving tests when drivers 85 and older renew their licenses, and a person ticketed for driving 95 mph or faster will not be allowed to take a driving safety course to get the ticket dismissed.
Mange said Tuesday that officials believe the hoax started in California. She said officials can do little to stop it other than get the word out that it is fake.