Wanda from Beaumont asks: Thanks for the column, Officer Antoine. My Husband and I are always arguing about this. My question is, "How many feet can you be from a car in front of you before you are ticketed for driving too close?"
Answer: Excellent question, Wanda. This is a dangerous behavior with many drivers on our roads, following too close. We put too much confidence in our brakes, tires or our driving ability. The primary reason why someone will crash into the rear of another vehicle is following too close. Wanda, the transportation code doesn't give a numbered distance to follow behind another vehicle (i.e. 20 ft). It only states that a driver should maintain an assured clear distance between the two vehicles considering the speed, traffic and condition of the roadway so an operator can safely stop without colliding with the vehicle in front or veering off into another vehicle, person, or object. With that said, we know that our driving distance will be different on the highway at 70 mph than in the city at 30 mph, or even in bad weather. It will be in the observance of police officers that a following driver was too close to the vehicle ahead if a citation is issued. Traveling on the highway, I like the two (2) second rule where you allow at least two seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Find a landmark, allow the front vehicle to pass the land mark and count 1001 then 1002. This should give you ample distance between the two vehicles and allow enough time to stop.
James from Nederland asks: Thanks for this column, Ofc. Antoine. I am aware that Texas law says we are supposed to have a front license plate. I have a Mercedes-Benzs 500 series that I purchased two years ago and there is nowhere for me to put a license plate on the front of my vehicle and I'm not drilling holes in my car. Would you give me a ticket if you stopped me for not having a license plate?
Answer: Thank you, James. I encounter this a lot from motorists. Well it sounds like you really don't need an answer from me. Sounds like your mind is already made up. You are already convinced about what law you're not going to comply with. I understand you have an expensive vehicle and most times they are not manufactured with front license plate brackets. According to the Texas transportation code, you must have two (2) license plates on a vehicle that is registered in Texas. One plate must be on the further most front and one on the rear of your vehicle. Placing your front license plate on the front dash board is illegal as well. James I don't suggest you drill holes in your expensive vehicle, but I will recommend that you return to your Mercedes dealer and have them professionally install a front license plate bracket so you can stay within the law. Remember as long as you ride around without that front plate on your car, you risk the chance of being stopped by any Texas police officer over and over again.
Remember to email me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 409-984-8541 to leave a voicemail or mail Ofc. Rickey Antoine 645 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can "Ask A Cop."
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