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Driver - Black's 4th

One employed in conducting or operating a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle, with horses, mules, or other animals, or a bicycle, tricycle, or motor car, though not a street railroad car. A person actually doing driving, whether employed by owner to drive or driving his own vehicle.

TRANSPORTATION CODE

TITLE 7. VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC
SUBTITLE A. CERTIFICATES OF TITLE AND REGISTRATION OF VEHICLES
CHAPTER 502. REGISTRATION OF VEHICLES

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

(16) “Owner” means a person who:
(A) holds the legal title of a vehicle
(B) has the legal right of possession of a vehicle: or
(C) has the legal right of control of a vehicle.

(24) “Vehicle” means a device in or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a public highway, other than a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 625, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by: Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 586, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

A driver's license is required for all persons "driving" a vehicle. A wagon, with horses, is considered a vehicle. So why are Amish people not required to register their "vehicle," and to have a driver's license when driving on public roads?

marked as duplicate by BlueDogRanch, Nij, David Siegel, user6726, ohwilleke Feb 22 at 0:46

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  • Can you please identify the law from which you are quoting? In particular, what jurisdiction? – Nate Eldredge Feb 19 at 14:16
  • What jurisdiction are we in? I've found that there is a legal distinction between a "Motor Vehicle" (A car, a truck, ect.) and a "Vehicle" (A car, a truck, a horse and buggy, a bicycle, but not a train or tram or trolley) where the former is a subset of the later and may be subject to additional rules. Check your law for a distinction between legal definitions. – hszmv Feb 19 at 14:31
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    @NateEldredge it appears to be Texas. BillyLee258 I don't know whether there are many Amish people in Texas, but there are certainly a lot of them in Pennsylvania, and a bit of image searching shows that these vehicles are not registered. That must be because of Title 75, Chapter 13, section 1302(7), which exempts from the registration requirement "Any vehicle moved solely by human or animal power." – phoog Feb 19 at 15:55
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So why are Amish people not required to register their "vehicle," and to have a driver's license when driving on public roads?

The Texas registration requirement in Texas is at Sec. 502.040. REGISTRATION REQUIRED; GENERAL RULE:

a) Not more than 30 days after purchasing a vehicle or becoming a resident of this state, the owner of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer shall apply for the registration of the vehicle for:

(1) each registration year in which the vehicle is used or to be used on a public highway; and

(2) if the vehicle is unregistered for a registration year that has begun and that applies to the vehicle and if the vehicle is used or to be used on a public highway, the remaining portion of that registration year.

(emphasis added)

Now, you might argue that this requires owners of motor vehicles also to register their non-motorized vehicles, but I doubt that this is the prevailing interpretation. Regardless, an Amish person who does not own a motor vehicle is certainly not required by this subsection to register horse-drawn vehicles.

Similarly, the requirement to hold a driver's license is at Sec. 521.021. LICENSE REQUIRED:

A person, other than a person expressly exempted under this chapter, may not operate a motor vehicle on a highway in this state unless the person holds a driver's license issued under this chapter.

(emphasis added)

Similarly, this requirement does not apply to the operation of a horse-drawn vehicle.

In other words, one statement in your question is incorrect:

A driver's license is required for all persons "driving" a vehicle.

In fact, a driver's license is generally required to drive a motor vehicle (and even there, exceptions exist).

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The question uses definitions of “Owner” and "Vehicle" from Texas Title & Chapter 502, but uses a general definition of "driver" from Black's Law Dictionary. One cannot safely mix-ad-match like that. Definitions should be from the same specific body of law, or they may not be consistent. The same term is often defined differently in different laws.

So, from Texas Title 7 Chapter 521.001:

"Driver's license" means an authorization issued by the department for the operation of a motor vehicle.

...

"License" means an authorization to operate a motor vehicle that is issued under or granted by the laws of this state.(Emphasis added)

and from Sec 521.021:

A person, other than a person expressly exempted under this chapter, may not operate a motor vehicle on a highway in this state unless the person holds a driver's license issued under this chapter. (Emphasis added)

The license requirement applies only to motor vehicles, not to horse-drawn ones. The laws of other states are similar in this regard.

  • I have the slight suspicion that you might have just solved a homework problem for a law student. – gnasher729 Feb 20 at 0:49
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    @gnasher729 Perhaps, but it looked to me like a conspiracy theorist, trying to claim that no one needs a driver's license, or possibly an honestly confused person. It is really a bit simplistic for a law-school problem isn't it? In any case I have seen regulars here answer a number of questions that openly proclaimed that they were for school projects. Should such be ruled off-topic? – David Siegel Feb 20 at 0:52
  • Yeah, I read it as as the nobody needs a license thing or someone mad they were stuck behind one on the road earlier that day... Besides, to the extent law students have homework, it rarely would consist of "problems"! – A.fm. Feb 21 at 5:39

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