ASK A COP — What are texting and cell-use laws while driving?

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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Lynn asks: I’m confused about the texting and driving law. Can someone drive with their cellphone in their hand and talk, as well. I don’t really see the difference between the two acts. Are both acts — talking with the cellphone in hand and texting with cellphone in hand — illegal or just texting and driving?

Answer: I believe that total cellular free driving is the safest form of operating a motor vehicle period. Then there is hands free and next Texas now has no texting while driving. The state of Texas wants us to concentrate on NOT texting while driving. Research proves a driver of a motor vehicle that is texting while driving is 24 to 34 times likely to get into a crash than a driver that’s not texting and driving. The same research proved someone talking on a cellphone is five times likely to get into a crash than someone who is not talking on a cellphone. Interestingly enough is that someone who is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is also five times likely to get into a crash than someone who is operating a vehicle and they are not intoxicated. The only thing in my professional opinion that a motorist can do that’s more dangerous than texting is sleeping while driving. It’s legal in Texas to talk with the cellphone in your hand. Just don’t be attempting to dial or find something while the vehicle is in motion on the roads of Texas.

Officer Rickey Antoine

Ralph asks: I recently was involved in a wreck on the Lowe’s parking lot, and the police officer responded and told us they don’t investigate wrecks on parking lots. Could you please explain what violations police officers do and don’t enforce on private property?

Answer: I’m sorry you was involved in a crash but happy to hear that no one was injuried. Here is a list of what a police officer WILL enforce on private property: fire zone violation, disabled parking violation, reckless driving violation and driving while intoxicated violation. Police officers in Texas will NOT investigate on private property: stop sign violations, bad parking violations (taking up multiple lanes), driving the wrong way down a lane, no seat belt violations, no driver’s license violation, expired registration sticker violation, failing to yield to a pedestrian in crosswalk violation and minor fender benders where NO ONE is injured. You are welcome to call a police officer to the scene if you are involved in a crash, but the MOST they will do for you if no one is injured is assist in exchanging information.

Todd asks: I am seeking information about motorists who fail to signal intent-to-change-lanes. How long should a motorist turn on his signal before he changes lanes. As I drive on the roads, it’s true many don’t use their signal, but when they use their signal. they put it on and immediately change lanes. Should it blink at least three times before making a movement to another lane?

Answer: The state of Texas doesn’t set a number of times a lane change indicator has to blink before actually changing lanes, but it does speak of changing lanes safely. You can signal lane change intent and you may be able to immediately change lanes because it’s safe to do so, or it may take you several minutes until it’s safe to change lanes while your signal is still on. Remember, when a lane change can be done legally and SAFELY is the key word.

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 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!”