ASK A COP: If you can see the train, don’t try to beat it

Published 11:36 pm Monday, February 29, 2016

James from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, this is an awesome way for our Port Arthur Police Department to keep in touch with the citizens they serve. This column has served as an effective communication bridge for many citizens, including myself. All this time, I considered you as a machine with no heart, but thanks to this article, I now know you have a true passion for saving lives on our roads. Officer Antoine, I watched the news the other day and I saw where you all were issuing tickets for disregarding the railroad signals. I happened to pass through a railroad crossing where the lights were flashing, but the arms were not yet coming down. I was wondering if I could have been ticketed for that, or was I OK because the arms were not in motion yet? Can you help me??

Answer: Good question, James! Yes, James you are correct, the Port Arthur Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit, in conjunction with the Kansas City Southern railway’s (K.C.S) Law Enforcement, did conduct a railway crossing operation a couple of weeks ago. We were in search for violators who disregard the railway crossing warning lights. James, most motorists don’t know the proper procedure about crossing a railway with a train approaching. When the engineer of a train blows that very LOUD horn and you can visibly see the train approaching, ALL vehicles should come to a STOP no closer than 15 feet to the railway crossing, and no further than 50 feet from the railway crossing. Most motorists try to beat the train by speeding up when the lights on the gate arm are activated and start to come down. James, this driving behavior needs to stop immediately. Motorists always take uncalculated illegal chances, and stats show that many are at the losing end of their decision, resulting in 2,291 motor vehicle collisions with a train that resulted in 264 deaths in this country and 867 injuries in 2014. James, consider this, a motorists is 20 times more likely to die in a crash with a train than in a collision with a motor vehicle. DON’T TRY TO BEAT THE TRAIN! If you hear the horn and see the train, STOP! Yes James Stop even before the red lights starts to flash. James it sounds like you disregarded a railway signal, and you could have been cited for that violation. Now that you know better, sir I’m sure you will do better!

Lane from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, I was born and raised in Port Arthur and I thank you for the job you do. My question is, what is the law on tint that is too dark, because nobody must be writing tint tickets? I see all of these vehicles with very dark tint on their windows. What is the law on tint in Texas?

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Answer: Good question Lane! Please believe me, Lane, when I tell you I echo your sentiments on your feeling on too-dark tint. The state of Texas allows 25% light transparency on the front driver and front passenger windows in a motor vehicle. Motorists are allowed to have the back window and rear passenger/rear driver windows as light or dark as they please. Lane, I don’t agree with motorists being able to darken the rear windows of their vehicle, because it presents an officer safety issue. But as we all know this is the great state of Texas and at times we do some things different. Please rest assured Lane, that if I observe a vehicle with illegal window tint, they will be stop and issued a citation on the spot!

Vern from Groves asks: Officer Antoine my co-worker is a new resident of Texas, and he has a valid Virginia Driver License. He wants a Texas Driver License, but he works a lot of 12 hour shifts and he’s afraid that he will be driving illegally on the roads if he doesn’t get a Texas license soon. He has been here for two months now and he is still operating his vehicle with a Virginia license, how long does he have to drive legally or has his time expired already?

Answer: Good question, Vern! We welcome your co-worker to Southeast Texas. Tell your co-worker he is currently OK, because he has 90 days to obtain a Texas Driver License. Vern, I know it’s hard when you are working 12 hour shifts to take off, but if he wants to legally drive in Texas, taking off is not an option it’s an necessity. Remember the state of Texas gives new residents 90 days to obtain a Texas Driver License.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for 1 hour from 1p-2p. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet at . Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Remember to email your questions to , 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!