, Port Arthur, Texas

October 15, 2012

ASK A COP: Warning of a police presence; School zone cell phone use

Ofc. Rickey Antoine
The Port Arthur News

— • Bro Lamott from Port Arthur asks: I am aware that (in school zones) during school zone hours, cell phones are not to be used. How about when school is out or during school hours when the lights are not flashing or weekends? Are we still supposed to obey the no-cell-phone law?

• Answer: You are allowed to use your cell phone in a school zone outside of specified times. The school zone times are normally 7:30-9 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m., when students are going to or coming from school. The Transportation Code says that you cannot operate a motor vehicle in a school zone and use a wireless communication device (cell phone) unless you stop or have some type of hands-free device. So if the school-zone lights are flashing, you have to use a hands-free device, pull over, or hang up.  


• Janet from Nederland asks: I am at odds with a friend about this question. We were traveling down the street and saw a police officer with his lights on, giving someone a ticket. Is it illegal to flash my headlights to other drivers to warn them to slow down?

• Answer: Texas Transportation Code 547.305 states the only vehicle that can have flashing headlamps are authorized emergency vehicles and school buses. The only lamps on any other vehicle that can flash are the hazzard lamps and turn signals.  So if you are flashing your headlamps, you could be stopped and cited by a police officer if he interprets your actions as a violation of the code.

Flashing headlamps by a passenger vehicle is not actually spelled out in the Transportation Code.

About warning other drivers to slow down, every driver has the responsibility to drive  at or below the  speed limit, so if they want to gamble with speeding, we consider them a hazard on our roads.

Port Arthur Police Officer Rickey Antoine answers reader's questions every Monday in the Port Arthur News. To read the full version of "Ask a Cop," see the online or print edition of The News

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