Ask a cop: Is there a good reason to run a red light?
Published 11:36 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Don from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I have never read a lot in my life. In the Port Arthur News, I read ALL headlines (skim through the article if I like it), I also read the obituary names, Dear Abby, 8 out of 10 cartoons, but I read your WHOLE “Ask A Cop” article.
I know it is wrong to go through a red light. Here is my example question I’m seeking an answer for: Let’s say three or more cars are stopped at a red light on a three-lane street like Jimmy Johnson Blvd. You look in the rear view mirror and see a fire truck with red lights on and horn blaring right behind you. The truck is trapped unless we move. Is it OK to go through the red light if it is safe to let the emergency vehicle through or sit until the light turns green? I know you have always said NOT to run a red light, but seconds do count in an emergency for fire, ambulance, and police.
Answer: Very good question, Don! I thank you and others who have truly followed this article and have increased your knowledge of the Texas Transportation Code. Don, you are correct, I do encourage motorists NEVER, NEVER, NEVER and I mean NEVER run a red light. Once again, the only person that can give anyone authority to pass through a red light is a police officer period! Now Don, in the scenario you provided the Texas Transportation Code says when an EMERGENCY vehicle is sounding its horn behind you, the motorists should pull over to the RIGHT side of the road when it’s safe and STOP.
So instead of all vehicles slowly going through the red light to allow passage to the Fire truck or ambulance, ALL vehicles should pull to the right, even if that means you going the opposite direction in which you intended to travel. It won’t hurt to go one minute out of your way because like you mentioned Don, in an emergency situation sometimes mere seconds count.
Keep in mind you should always pull to the right when it’s safe. I know it can be very intimidating and nerve racking to hear those loud sirens and lights flashing behind you. Trust me, we understand. Just try to remain calm and pull to the right ONLY when it’s SAFE to do so. Do not run the light unless a police officer is directing you to do so!
Millie from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, I hope you remember me. I met you at the mission when you taught a class there. I’m the white haired lady that always teases you. I was involved in an accident recently where the other driver left the scene without giving me any information. Officer Antoine, the accident occurred at an intersection and I’ve noticed that there are cameras at the intersection. Is it possible for me to get a picture of the other vehicle for identification purposes?
Answer: Good question, Millie! Yes I remember you. How in this world could I EVER forget you? With that said, let me remind you and others that have inquired the same, that you are resident of Southeast Texas and not a major metropolitan city like Houston! Sorry to inform you the camera systems you see at the intersections are NOT recording or taking photos, they are above ground vehicle detection sensors. They are cameras but not the kind you are hoping for Millie. I think it’s a shame for someone to damage another person’s property (vehicle) and drive off like they don’t have a care in the world. This is for all readers. If you are involved in a crash and you are not injured, make getting the other vehicles license plate number priority number one. Millie, I Look forward to seeing you again so I can get TEASED! Did I really just say that, I gotta love my life (smile)!!
Larry from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, thanks for this article! My son and I have been going at it about this driving issue. I will admit my son is not a teenager, he is well into his 20s, but I’m seeking your help on this issue. Here is the question. If I’m the second of two vehicles stopped at a stop sign and the first vehicle proceeds through safely can the second vehicle go without stopping if no traffic is coming? Officer Antoine, we both believe we are right and the other is wrong. Can you please help us? By the way I say that is illegal!
Answer: Well, Larry, back when I was a kid playing in the yard there was a television program called “Father knows Best!” Your son would do well if he applied the name of that show to that question, because Larry you are right. Larry, your son is practicing a behavior that will either end up with someone injured, property damaged or a BIG citation (ticket). It doesn’t matter if it was clear for the second vehicle to go, every vehicle has the command to “STOP” when the stop sign is approached.
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Remember to email your questions to email@example.com, or call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can “Ask A Cop!”