Interesting Texas Traffic Stories for December, 2018

Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting Texas drivers from the past month.

Texas’ Long-Awaited Bullet Train Plans to Start Construction (Paper City)

When it comes to fighting traffic for hours on the long trips between Dallas and Houston, there may be a new silver bullet— none other than the Texas Bullet Train. This Japanese-inspired downtown Dallas to northwest Houston high-speed rail would be the first of its kind in the United States.

“Would be” because it’s long felt like a rumor — but now it’s looking a lot more like a “will be.” Masaru Yosano, chief general manager of Central Japan Railway Company, tells WFAA that plans are going forward, complete with a specific time frame.

“We will start the construction next year,” Yosano says. [Read more…]

Rude, dangerous Texas drivers caught on camera in newly released video montage (Houston Chronicle)

Driver's ed instructors don't teach teenagers to cut across three lanes of traffic when they're about to miss a turn.

The dangers of that maneuver shouldn't have to be spelled out. But this year, several drivers in Austin appeared to think that was a perfectly reasonable way to get places, according to a recently released video montage from The Dashcam store.

The Austin-based company released the 3-minute compilation of "Bad Drivers of Austin" to highlight the advantages of dash cams. It showed people turning into oncoming traffic, recklessly cutting off an 18-wheeler, barreling through busy intersections and, in one case, crashing head-on into an SUV. [Read more…]

Speed trap ahead: Where police are waiting for speeders around Houston and Texas (Houston Chronicle)

At least nine speed traps have been reported in the city of Houston in the last year on, a website monitored by the National Motorists Association. An additional 45 speed traps have been pinpointed across the state of Texas.

The Houston area drivers who reported the local speed traps found police officers hiding behind bushes, idling in parking lots at the bottom of a hill or waiting near highway exits.

View the gallery to see where drivers spotted the speed traps in Houston and across Texas. [Read more…]

Texas drivers, this is how to drive on wet roads. (KVUE ABC)

Rain in Central Texas can be a drag.

Not only do you have to worry about delay times, but you also have to worry about your safety and making it to your destination without colliding with the vehicle in front of you.

That's why KVUE has put together the most crucial tips for driving on wet roadways that you can keep in your mind for the next time the roads get slippery, according to the Texas Department of Insurance's Division of Worker's Compensation. [Read more…]

Texas texting law has a few loopholes (Houston Chronicle)

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini readily admits the Texas Legislature passed a flawed ban on texting while driving.

Zaffirini, D-Laredo, spent a decade trying to pass a ban that forbids anyone from typing away behind the wheel. What Texas has is a ban on sending or reading electronic communications while driving, though motorists can go right ahead controlling their stereo or typing in an address to their navigation app.

The carve-outs make it almost impossible to enforce the ban, nearly everyone agrees, but Zaffirini said they were necessary to get the bill through the Senate.

"If we hadn't done that, we would not have passed the bill," she said. "It was the lesser of all evils."

It is a start, many supporters said, even if enforcement has not lived up to expectations. While not everything she hoped for, she said it is a positive step and already yielding results. [Read more…]

Are digital driver’s licenses and IDs coming to Texas? (Statesman)

Texas could move one step closer to issuing digital driver’s licenses, if lawmakers approve a pilot program during the upcoming legislative session.

House Bill 181, by state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, would require the Texas Department of Public Safety to try out a program for issuing digital identification. In doing so, the bill states, the department would have to make necessary upgrades and acquire a mobile application for digital IDs and driver’s licenses. The bill also states that DPS can enter into a contract with a third party to establish the program if the arrangement “is at no cost to the department.”

That trial run would lay the groundwork for an alternative form of identification, not a replacement for physical, plastic cards.

“This bill is an important part of a process towards a more modern and more safe Texas,” Canales told the American-Statesman. “Texas is falling behind with current and future technology, while other states are staying on pace with the technology movement. I want all Texans to have the convenience of displaying their identification with their smartphones. More and more people are using their smartphone to start their car, control their air conditioners, buy goods at stores.” [Read more…]

Texas Police Seriously Crack Down on Drivers Who Fail to Move Over for Emergency Vehicles (The Drive)

When you see emergency lights in Texas, you’d better slow down and/or pull over. According to a South Texas news station, state troopers are done giving chances to drivers who endanger emergency responders by failing to abide by the law and are now increasing enforcement of tickets and fines.

The Move Over/Slow Down law in Texas calls for motorists to clear the lane closest to emergency vehicles as they approach them, or slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. This applies to police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation, and even tow trucks when the emergency lights are flashing. While the law has been in place for a while, the Texas State Troopers are clearly fed up with violators, issuing a strong warning and trying to appeal to the public to think about the safety of these personnel.

“In light of the numerous vehicle crashes that occur in Texas and across the nation on a daily basis, and the unfortunate fact that many still violate the state law that has been in effect for nearly 15 years, we are increasing our enforcement and education efforts related to this law,” said Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw. “In addition to complying with the law to protect those who work on the side of the road, we encourage motorists to show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the roadways. Let’s all get home safely.” [Read more…]

UT graduate students develop car sensor technology (The Daily Texan)

Getting stuck behind a car on a two-lane Texas highway is often why drivers swerve into the opposite lane, attempting to pass slower traffic.

However, new sensory software developed through a partnership between UT graduate students and the Texas Department of Transportation may be able to help with that problem, as well as with other traffic congestion and safety issues, said Darran Anderson, TxDOT director of strategy and innovation.

Steven Flolid, a computer engineering graduate student, helped design the sensor system two years ago. Flolid said the software uses radars and lasers built into a vehicle to help gauge its own position as well as the relative position of other cars on the road. That information will be then communicated to other cars around it.

“The goal here is to create more synergy between car manufacturers,” Flolid said. “They can have a set protocol on how to share information between vehicles, so it can be beneficial to whole cities instead of just useful to individuals and create better traffic for everybody.”

William Alexander, a civil engineering graduate student, said Austin has some of congestion issues in the state. [Read more…]

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