ASK A COP — Can toddler ride in driver’s lap while in a parking lot?

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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Kenny asks: I was in the Central Mall parking lot that made me want to write someone a ticket and I don’t even have a ticket book. Just the other day I saw a driver of a vehicle driving slowly through the parking lot with I guesstimate a 2-year-old standing on his lap with the steering wheel in the toddler’s hand pretending to be driving. Isn’t this like child abuse? What’s the fine for someone doing this?

Officer Rickey Antoine

Answer: The act of allowing a toddler to stand on a driver’s lap in a motor vehicle pretending to drive on private property is NOT a crime in Texas. Remember, we don’t regulate private property laws, other than fire lane, disabled parking and driving while intoxicated. It may look horrible or careless to see a toddler on the lap of a driver, but on private property this is not illegal. I won’t say this act is child abuse, but we may be able to make a case of child endangerment depending on circumstances. If this same act was performed on the roadway, this careless act instantly becomes ILLEGAL.

Grip asks: When I approach a boulevard and want to turn, I was under the impression that I was supposed to go to the furthest side of the boulevard and turn. Today I’m not to sure about this because every time I try to do that, a vehicle traveling the opposite direction is ALWAYS in the spot waiting to turn. I question if I am right or if they are right. Help clear this up for me.

Answer: You are correct, when turning at a boulevard the driver should go to the opposite side of the boulevard in order to LEGALLY complete the turn. The other drivers are wrong, and they are causing unnecessary vehicle pile up and stoppage on the roadway. If this confuse yous, always consider if there was a stop sign on the boulevard, where you want to turn according to the direction traffic will flow?

Paul asks: I really dislike the cold frigid temperatures. I understand we are in the winter season, where fog and mist forms overnight and we have low temperatures on the way. I don’t have a garage to keep my vehicle windows clear, but I do love getting into a car that’s WARM. Since we shouldn’t drive if we can’t see, can I start my vehicle and stay inside my home until the inside interior of my vehicle thaws out? I love entering a vehicle that’s nice and toasty inside.

Answer: I don’t like getting into a vehicle when it feels like you are still outside in the cold, but we are law-abiding citizens and in Texas there is a law about leaving our vehicle unattended, even if your only intent is to warm it up before you leave (on roadway). Guess who else loves for motorists to warm up their cars before entering them – CAR THIEVES! This time of year is a favorite for thieves because the guessing game is gone as to whether your vehicle is on. They can clearly see the white exhaust smoke puffing out of the tail pipe. Upwards of 500,000 vehicles are stolen each. Many are because operators leaving cars unattended. Another point is you only need to allow the motor oil to circulate throughout the engine, which will take the maximum of approximately 25 seconds. Afterward, there is no real benefit of your vehicle being idle. Your vehicle will heat up faster moving than idling. The state of Texas allows vehicle operators who have remote start to leave their car running and unattended, as long as they have the key in their possession while away from the vehicle. On private property, vehicles CAN be left unattended.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for at least 2 hours from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in and listen as Antoine discusses the newly released “Ask A Cop.” Tune in via the internet at Call in questions at 409-982-0247. Ask a question via TEXT at 409-748-6106. Email questions to or call 409-983-8673 and leave a voice mail. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”