ASK A COP — Can police use their lights to bypass all red light intersections?

Published 12:16 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Mark asks: I do believe some police officers abuse their authority, such as intentionally turning on their emergency lights to run a red light at intersections within the city. I’ve seen this on more than a couple occasions, only to notice the police officer later turn off their red and blue lights or simply turn around. Is it illegal for police officers to turn on their red/blue lights just to get through an intersection?

Answer: I wasn’t there so I can’t actually say why the officer went through the intersection with the lights activated and soon turned off the emergency lights. But I will tell you there are times when officers need to expedite to a call like a burglary in progress or an assault in progress, maybe even a theft in progress, and in the officer’s opinion waiting at a red light intersection could hinder in the apprehension of a suspect, stop the furtherance of a crime or prevent injury and ultimately maybe save a life. A couple minutes or seconds could be the difference between any of the above mentioned from occurring. Sometimes police officers may need to get to a location as fast and safe as possible without notifying the suspect(s) of our presence. That could explain why police officers turn on their emergency lights to go through a red light intersection then turn them off, or the officer who was trying to get to a scene was suddenly told they were no longer needed at the scene. In this case the officer will turn off his emergency equipment because the scene where he was headed is under control. I would be crazy to say this is the case each and every time a police officer uses his emergency lights to go through a red light intersection, where we are today we can just see the positive action that the officer was en route to an emergency and later discovered they were not needed.

Darlene asks: My husband and I are always getting into a disagreement when he drives because he doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of the white line at an intersection. He always stops over the white line. What is the white line at an intersection for?

Answer: The solid white line at an intersection seems to be a law in Texas that’s often overlooked, whether knowingly or unknowingly. There’s actually a reason and law why the white lines are at intersections. A white line at an intersection is a STOP line, where motorists should STOP behind the white line. Motorists shouldn’t be stopped on any part of the solid white stop line, but behind it. Of course, the white line is at intersections for safety reasons to allow safe passage for pedestrians crossing the road, and for vehicles turning your direction to safely turn in the appropriate lane. If your husband is stopping on or beyond the white stop line at intersections, he definitely is in violation of a state law in Texas.

XMan asks: I’m a little confused since Texas became a hands free cellphone state. I’ve been on my son to stay off the phone while driving. Now friends and family are recommending we install a speaker system in vehicles because driving with the phone in your hand in Texas is now ILLEGAL. Is there another method or system you know that we can try before buying the speaker system for cellphone hands free driving?

Answer: You are somewhat confused about the Texas Texting law that began last year. The only place you are to be cellphone hands free in Texas is in an active SCHOOL ZONE. Other than that, the Texas Texting law allows for motorists to operate a motor vehicle with the cellphone in their hand while driving. Now if you’re asking my opinion about driving with a cellphone in hand, I’d advise against that firmly. Many take for granted the dangerous risk they assume daily by driving and talking on cellphone, no matter if it’s handheld or hands free. Having a cellphone in your hand while driving isn’t much different, because 85 percent or greater of the motoring community only drive with one hand. So where the problem? It’s in the brain. We can only do one thing at a time with our conscious mind. Have you ever had two people talking to you at the same time? You may hear, but a lot of information will be missed! We only have ONE conscious mind, and that’s what we need in order to safely drive a motor vehicle. If we’re using the conscious mind to hold a conversation while driving, we start driving with our sub-conscious mind. Studies have proven driving and talking on cellphone in hand or hand free is dangerous. Just put the cellphone down and drive is my suggestion.

Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington and 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. You can also tune in via Call in live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you see me in public, you are always free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop!”