New Laws Affecting Every Texas Driver

New laws you need to know about -- affecting every Texas driver starting Labor Day.

If you have a lead foot or are caught driving drunk, the new laws could cost you hundreds... even thousands of dollars. That is -- if you want to keep your driver's license.

"The people who are committing the problems -- these people should pay for these problems," says Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.

People who cause wrecks and people who drive drunk: it costs everyone in higher insurance rates.  Sometimes more for health care. The state legislature has decided to make those who cause the wrecks pay.

"I think we have to remember, and let the public know, that driving is a privilege, not a constitutional right," Smith says.

It's called the Driver Responsibility Program -- and DPS tracks it on a points system. For the first moving violation, a driver gets two points. If they cause a wreck -- three. Six points during any three year period means that driver will have to pay a $100 surcharge to DPS, and $25 for each point over six.

Points won't be given for going just over the speed limit, or for seat belt violations.

Drunk drivers often hurt themselves and others. Sheriff Smith says anyone can make a mistake, but some drivers have patterns of drinking then getting behind the wheel.

"But when you're talking about two, it's not a mistake, but a pattern of a problem. They should have to pay for that," Smith says.

For a first DWI, drivers will have to pay the state $1000 for three years to keep driving -- $1500 is added for a second charge.  A two-time offender will shell out $2500 a year for three years.

The new law applies to anyone convicted after September 1.

Also, if you see a stopped emergency vehicle or police car with lights flashing, you must pull to the lane farthest from the vehicle (if possible) and slow to at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.