Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1662
By: Alexander
Public Safety


The Texas emergency call box program (program) was initiated in 1993 in
five roadway sections in four counties.  The program consists of a system
of emergency telephone call boxes which are designed to enable users of
certain state highways to request emergency and nonemergency response
services. Currently, the program may not receive state highway funds for
its operation or maintenance.  Therefore, the program relies upon public
and private entities to pay all direct or indirect costs.  House Bill 1662
replaces the program with a system of automatic location identification
telephone call boxes, and does not prohibit the utilization of state
highway funds for the system. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 1662 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Texas
Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to implement a system of automatic
location identification telephone call boxes (system), which if implemented
must begin along rural interstate highways, including rest stops and
roadside parks.  The bill authorizes the call box system to enable users to
communicate with providers of emergency and nonemergency response services.
The bill requires TxDOT to limit the distance between call boxes to a
maximum of two miles, except as prohibited by roadway conditions or where
24-hour communication service exists.  The bill requires the Commission on
State Emergency Communications, on the request of TxDOT, to provide
technical assistance to TxDOT, including support for routing calls made
from a call box to an emergency services provider.  The bill sets forth
provisions relating to the awarding of contracts by TxDOT for the
implementation of the system.  The bill requires TxDOT to report to the
legislature and Legislative Budget Board each year on the system, including
recommendations for legislative action. 


September 1, 2001.