From the 86th: Transportation and Oversized Vehicle Bills

HB 799 - Relating to liability for certain damage caused by vehicles exceeding maximum height limitations.

Dubbed the “bridge strike bill,” HB 799 imposes strict liability on the owner of a vehicle that hits, and damages a bridge or underpass caused by the height of the vehicle. 

There are four exceptions to the liability if a strike occurs when:  (1)  the vehicle was stolen; (2)  the vertical clearance of the structure was less than that posted on the structure; (3)  the vehicle was being operated under the immediate direction of a law enforcement agency; or (4)  the vehicle was being operated in compliance with a permit authorizing the movement of the vehicle issued by the department or a political subdivision of this state.

This bill was signed into law May 24 and becomes effective on September 1, 2019.

HB 61 - Relating to the use of certain lighting equipment on escort flag vehicles.

This bill, which has been signed into law, authorizes flag escort vehicles to be equipped with alternating or flashing blue and amber lights.

This bill flew through the entire legislative process and was one of the first bills signed by Gov. Abbott on May 7.  The new law goes into effective on September 1, 2019.

HB 2620 - Relating to the movement of oversize or overweight vehicles, including the enforcement of motor vehicle size and weight limitations.

This bill included a provision specific to the escort vehicles required when transportation manufactured and modular homes in Texas. The bill prohibits any additional escorting vehicles of any kind other than those required in statue in 623.009, Transportation Code. 

HB 2620 will eliminate the practice of a handful of Texas cities that require police escorts via local ordinances.  For more on our “little engine that could” bill with our TMHA supported amendment, you can read our other write-up on TMHA’s top legislative priorities.

This bill was signed by Gov. Abbott on June 14 and becomes effective on September 1, 2019.