Ask a cop: Who pays for damage when tire throws a rock?

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daniel from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, thanks for the weekly information you provide for the readers of The News, who also operate a motor vehicle on the roads of Southeast Texas. I need a clear understanding about debris striking my vehicle from a large truck like an 18 wheeler. Let’s say the truck was a tanker type and a rock comes from the truck wheel and cracks the window on my vehicle. I am aware, thanks to you, that if an object comes from the bed of the large truck, the trucking company is liable. Is it safe to say the company is liable if the object comes from the wheel of the large truck?

Answer: Good question, Daniel! You are correct in saying if the debris falls from the bed of a commercial vehicle, the company is liable for any object that falls from the unsecured load that causes damage to your vehicle. If this occurs, you should attempt to get the truck driver’s attention to pull over and notify the local law enforcement department for assistance. But, you gave a different scenario about a tanker whose cargo is enclosed and the debris comes from the road and NOT the load that the vehicle is carrying. Sorry to inform you and ALL readers, but there is absolutely NOTHING that can be done about this. The trucking company is NOT liable for such an incident. Something that could possibly weigh in your favor is if the commercial vehicle doesn’t have rear mud flaps on the truck. Most people know that a rock chip on a front widow is a very common occurrence on the highways. So Daniel, it doesn’t matter whether the rock chip is a result of a car or commercial vehicle, at the end of the day, you will be stuck with a chipped window that YOU will be responsible for repairing. Now Daniel, granted most insurance companies will cover your rock chipped window without penalizing you and without a deductible. That’s why there are drive up rock chip stations at both Central Mall and Parkdale Mall.

T.J from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I am getting fussed at and given dirty looks by teachers everyday when I pick up my beautiful granddaughter from school. My granddaughter is 5 years old and I put her in the booster seat and allow her to ride in the front with MEEMOW. She loves riding in the front and it makes communicating with her much easier for me as we travel, because I’m not looking in the rear view mirror or trying to turn around to talk. I must admit that I’m not sure if I’m right or wrong. At what age can I transport my granddaughter in the front seat? To be honest I probably would have put her in the backseat but because they hollered at me I’m determined to keep them happy! Am I right or wrong for transporting my granddaughter in the front seat in her booster seat?

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Answer: Good question, T.J. Can we ALL just get along? (Smile!) I just love your name MEEMOW. T.J., it appears the staff where you pick up your granddaughter have a genuine concern for the kids being transported correctly in the vehicles. I can only imagine the wrong they observe parents or guardians doing when transporting children on a daily basis. T.J., the statement that a child has to be a certain age before they can be transported in the front seat is a common myth that has spread among the motoring community like wildfire. That’s why this column is needed, because of MISINFORMATION or MISUNDERSTANDING. T.J., you can allow you granddaughter sit wherever you want her to, providing she is properly secured in the correct child seat/booster seat. There is no magic age when you can allow a child to ride in the front seat. T.J., with that said, I don’t think it’s a very wise practice to drive with a 5-year-old in the front seat, but that’s your choice, and as long as she is correctly secured. It’s not ILLEGAL! So do the teachers a favor, and buy an extra copy of this edition of The News and give them a copy. If they have any further questions they can “Ask A Cop” instead of yell at you!

Chuck from Nederland asks: How soon does a Police Officer have to turn on his lights and stop me when he observes a violation? My wife said she unintentionally ran a red light, but the officer didn’t stop her until she traveled almost a mile down the road. Is this legal? Is the officer wrong, and if so what can I do to make sure this don’t happen to someone else?

Answer: Good question, Chuck! Well, Chuck, there is no set time limit as long as the officer has personally observed you or your wife commit a crime. Normally, we try to notify the motorist as soon as possible of their violation of the state of Texas Transportation Code, to stop whatever danger they are displaying, as well as the fresh memory. But if the officer decides to follow the vehicle for continued monitoring, they are within their rights to do so. Chuck, it doesn’t sound like anything was done wrong to your wife by the officer. If he didn’t verbally accost your wife or physically attack her, just the mere fact of continued following her after observing a violation doesn’t constitute wrongdoing on part of the officer. If I can be truthful to you, the only one who is wrong in what you explained is your wife! She disregarded a RED light, correct?

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for 1 hour from 1-2 p.m. (most days even longer). 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 St., Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!