ASK A COP — When everyone is speeding, what is a Texas motorist to do?
Published 12:04 am Tuesday, March 21, 2023
David from Orange asks: My wife and I travel to Houston to visit our granddaughter. On our way to Houston on Interstate 10, the speed limit signs don’t seem to mean anything. Everybody on Interstate 10 going and coming from Houston are speeding, including ME! Now my wife doesn’t agree, but I’m only traveling with the traffic. How am I supposed to drive if EVERYONE is speeding?
Answer: Speeding in a motor vehicle is one of the most common traffic violations committed daily on the roads of Texas. Keep in mind just because everyone else is speeding, it doesn’t make it right for you to speed. It is your responsibility as a licensed motorist to always obey the laws set forth by the state of Texas Transportation Code. If you head back to Houston and find yourself following the crowd, I would encourage you to move over to the right lane and drive up to the maximum speed limit given the weather or road conditions. I always pose this question when asked about this, if everyone was stealing out of a store, is it OK for you steal? Of course, it’s not OK TO STEAL! Left lane driving should accommodate all of the law-breaking speeders. Move over in the right slow lane, and drive safe. Remember, if you’re not passing another vehicle or preparing to turn left, you should NOT be driving in the left lane.
Dan from Groves asks: I was watching a court TV show and they said the driver is responsible for all passengers in the vehicle being seatbelted. I have an adult friend who rides in the backseat often, and I’m always on his butt about buckling his seatbelt. I don’t want to get a ticket for his negligence. Can I get a ticket for my passenger refusing to put on his seatbelt?
Answer: The state of Texas just completed its annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign that focuses on getting motorists across the state to buckle up or pay up. No one really wants to pay up, so getting motorists and passengers to buckle up will greatly reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries that are needlessly suffered daily on the roadways of Texas. Operating or being a passenger of a motor vehicle is a primary law, meaning law enforcement officers can stop you solely on the fact that someone in the vehicle is not belted. Contrary to the answer that was given by the court TV judge, in Texas things are done differently. Drivers in Texas are only responsible for seatbelt usage for passengers 14 years of age and younger. So your adult friend is on his own. Don’t let this information relax you from ensuring every occupant of your vehicle is properly secured by a safety belt. Unbuckled passengers are a threat to other buckled occupants in the vehicle during the unfortunate event of a crash. Be aware upwards of 60 percent of all traffic fatalities on the roadway during the police investigation are found that individuals are unbuckled. Keep fussing and make an announcement to all in the vehicle that “THIS CAR WILL NOT BE MOVING UNTIL EVERYONE IS BUCKLED!”
Roberta from Port Arthur asks: I am recently retired and now I have a part time job where I am the caretaker of a disabled client. My client was injured in a car wreck and cannot walk because he no longer has the use of his legs and is confined to a wheelchair. When I take him on our outings, I use my car because he no longer has a car. I am not disabled so I don’t have a disabled parking sign in my vehicle. Because my client doesn’t drive, he does not have a disabled sign to hang on the review mirror. It’s obvious he is disabled and in a wheelchair, but I don’t have a card to hang when I park in a handicapped space. I don’t think anyone would have a problem if they saw us getting out of the car because I push him in his wheelchair. Is it OK for us to park in the handicapped space knowing my client is handicapped and confined to a wheelchair?
Answer: One of the missions of the Traffic Enforcement Unit is to prevent injury. I understand the position you explained with your client and the disabled parking. This is actually a cut and dry answer. NO, you canNOT park in a disabled parking spot even though your client/passenger is in a wheelchair. Everyone who has eyes to see can acknowledge your client deserves to park there with the CORRECT credentials like a disabled parking PLACARD! The next doctor visit your client goes to, instruct him to request a disabled parking privilege from his doctor. Next, you will go to the department of motor vehicles and they will issue your client a BLUE disabled parking placard. You are NOT allowed by law to park in a disabled spot UNTIL you have permission by the state to do so. I’m sure many readers’ hearts, as well as mine, go out to you, but the LAW is the LAW. Once you get the placard, ONLY hang it up on the rear view mirror when parking. It’s NOT FOR DRIVING. The disabled placard is for PARKING privileges, not DRIVING privileges. I encourage everyone to take time and read the back of the placard. On the fourth line it clearly instructs the owner of the placard saying: DO NOT drive this vehicle with the placard hanging from the rear view mirror.
Join Me, Officer 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 every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”