The Importance of Knowing Restroom Laws: Texas Leads the Way
On a recent stop at a convenience store to purchase fuel for my truck, nature called. When I hurried inside and asked the attendant behind the counter where their restroom was I was told, "We no longer allow the public to use our restrooms."
I pointed to my vehicle being filled up with fuel from at their gas pump, explaining that I was a customer. The clerk responded, "It doesn't matter. We do not let the public use our restrooms because of the homeless people coming in here."
You could have knocked me over with a feather. First off I needed to use the restroom. And yes, when I turned 50 years old the urge for potty breaks increased by at least 100%. Add to that my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). So when Mother Nature calls...I gotta go!
I walked outside, stopped fueling my truck, and drove to the next convenience store down the road. I then asked if I could use THEIR facilities. I was told yes and I continued filling up my truck. As I was walking out after using the restroom, I told that attendant what had happened down the road. This attendant informed me that "if they sell fuel, by law they have to provide a public restroom."
Needless to say, that convenience store chain has won my business for life. As for the laws on restrooms at places that sell fuel, there are only two states with similar laws that say they have to provide the public use of their facilities.
There are only two states (California and Texas) with such a requirement.
California requires service stations that started operating on or after January 1, 1990 and are located within 660 feet of major highways to have clean and sanitary public restrooms. An intentional violation—one lasting for five consecutive days—is an infraction, punishable by a fines of up to $50 per day up to $250 per day.)
Texas requires filling stations to provide and maintain sanitary restrooms. A violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $10 to $200. If the defendant was convicted of a violation within the previous year, the maximum fine is $1,000 (Texas Ann. Code §§ 341.061 & 341.091).
No other state surveyed requires public restrooms in gas stations. Source: Texas.Public.Law
So if you're traveling throughout the great state of Texas, know for certain that stores that sell fuel near a highway or interstate should have restroom facilities available. Interestingly, Texas lawmakers put in a special provision that states "if there are only two employees on duty, public restroom access may be limited."
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