ASK A COP: Of course you cannot leave children in the car

Published 11:42 pm Monday, June 20, 2016

By Rickey Antoine

Faye from Port Arthur Asks: Officer Antoine, I have a younger sister that routinely leaves her children in the vehicle while she runs into the store or my home when she visits. I told her that it’s too hot to leave her children in the car and I always go outside and get the kids out of the car. She feels that leaving the kids in the car is OK since she cracks the window. I’m so upset with her for being so careless as a mother to my wonderful niece and nephew. I threatened and told her I would call the Police on her if she continued to leave her children in the car, but I’m not sure what the Texas law says about leaving children in a car alone or if it’s even illegal. Officer Antoine, what is the law concerning leaving 3 and 5 years of age children alone in a vehicle?

Answer: Good question, Faye! Your sister should be so thankful for having such a kind and compassionate sister as yourself!!! Your sister should NEVER leave any child in a vehicle unattended!! Faye, the Texas Penal Code section 22.10 states that (a) a person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than 5 minutes, knowing that the child is: (1) younger than 7 years of age; and (2) not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older. Faye, this act is illegal and the violator can be issued a citation or arrested on scene! I wish all of southeast Texas could read this because we are experiencing a rather unusual heat wave in our part of Texas. Since 1998, there have been more than 660 kids who have died in vehicles because a caretaker intentionally left or forgot about them in the hot vehicles. On average, 37 children die every year in hot vehicles. 13 children have died in the U.S., 2 of those were in Texas, one child dying last week in Houston.  A vehicle can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. On an 80 degree day, the inside temperature of a closed vehicle can easily reach 100 degrees!!! We must remember children’s bodies are not ADULT tolerant; Children are at great risk for heatstroke because a child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adults . For every 1 child who dies in a hot vehicle, hundreds of others are rescued before the child became critical because someone alerted emergency officials. Faye, most people like your sister will say I’ll only be gone a minute but somehow lose track of time, while their innocent child is suffering in a vehicle. Don’t hesitate to ACT if you observe a child locked in a unattended vehicle, even if the window has a crack in it…CALL 911!! Teach your children and grandchildren that vehicles are not hiding places especially the backseat and trunk compartment. Put something like your cell phone, briefcase, purse, etc. in the backseat so you don’t forget the quiet maybe sleeping baby in the backseat. Faye, I applaud you for bringing awareness to your sister and hopefully many readers of “The News.” Now make sure your sister read this column TODAY!

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Nancy from Houston Asks: I read your column in The News, even though I live in Houston, just an ex Port Arthurian. This is regarding those spokes that extend out on the tires. I see them here so much and hope they don’t get too close to someone and slash their leg. That is my fear!

Answer: Good question Nancy! How great to hear from someone from I10 West-Houston!. I love the line of communication that this column has opened and bridged the gap between our citizens we serve and protect even as far as Houston and beyond. Nancy, there isn’t a specific law pertaining to long spokes on a motor vehicle. I’ve visited Houston and yes you are correct, there is a great number of  motorists that attach the long spokes to their wheels of their vehicle than we have here in southeast Texas. Nancy, Police Officers will have to stop said vehicle and measure the length of the spokes from one tip to the other tip of the spokes. I understand about the fear of injury, but with that said, we need to pay more attention while walking! Nancy, the total width of a vehicle from spoke to spoke can NOT exceed 102 inches! Unfortunately Nancy, something tragic will have to occur for our Texas law makers to address the long vehicle spokes.

Bob from Groves Asks: Officer Antoine, I was wondering if I was able to alter my horn on my pick-up truck. I would like to install a train horn on my truck. I’m a law abiding citizen so I’m asking first if I can legally install a train horn on my truck?

Answer: Good question Bob! I’m aware that you want to customize your vehicle with a different horn (audible warning device). But sorry Bob, you CANNOT install a train horn on your truck.  Why would you want such a loud horn, are you wanting to send fellow motorists into cardiac arrest. Bob a train horn is way too loud to put on a regular truck and illegal. Bob, you will cause more of a disturbance with this type of horn on your truck than help warn someone. Texas Transportation Code 547.501 (2)(d) states a warning device, including a horn, may not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or whistle. So don’t do it Bob, enjoy your regular truck horn!

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.