Ask a cop: Can I use red tape to repair my tail light?

Published 8:20 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ask a copy by Rickey Antoine

Attention due to recent changes, my phone line 409-984-8541, the number to leave a question for Ask A Cop is no longer available.
I thank you for all of the phone questions, concerns, complaints and compliments. They have been very instrumental to the furtherance of Ask A Cop! At this point, there is no number available to reach me directly concerning your questions, but you can call 409-983-8673 and leave your information and I’ll return your call as soon as possible(don’t leave a question). You can still use the mail: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640, or email to ask your questions. Of course don’t forget, if you see me in public please feel free to approach me and Ask A Cop!

Ray from Port Arthur Asks — Officer Antoine, if I have a cracked taillight cover on my vehicle can I go to an auto parts store to buy some red tape and put on my lens to cover up the crack? Can I continue to drive with the red tape and be legal? If so, will I be able to pass inspection with the tape on the lens?
Answer — Good question Ray! The red tape you mentioned is not an approved repair for tail light lens by the state of Texas. So putting red tape on the crack is not repairing the vehicle. If you chose to do so, red tape should only be utilized as a temporary fix and not a repair. Ray, I’ve seen motorists who opt to put the red tape on their tail lamps instead of replacing the broken lamp, and in my opinion, YES, you can be stopped and cited for the defective tail lamp. You should NOT be allowed to pass a state of Texas inspection for your vehicle with red tape covering a crack in the lens.

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Gabe from Beaumont Asks — I’m honored to be able to write you and say, “I’ve NEVER been stopped and given a ticket by you Officer Antoine!!” Between you and Officer Burmaster in Beaumont PD on that motorcycle, I’m one scared straight driver! I know you officers get knocked for what you do, but it must be done in order to preserve life! I’ve had a couple family members who were killed because of accidents. If you ever catch me not doing what is right behind the wheel, please don’t have a moment of weakness.  Treat me like you’ve done I’m sure thousands others before me because I’ll deserve it. One question I have that I’m not quite sure of is it illegal to drive with your inside dome light on?
Answer — Good question Gabe! Thanks for you continued support of our mission in the city of Port Arthur to make public safety one of our top priorities. Every citizen doesn’t steal, fight, smoke drugs or kill, but what we all have in common is we either drive or ride as a passenger in a motor vehicle. You mentioned a friend of mine at Beaumont PD, Burmaster, and you are correct, he has a burning desire for safer roads in Beaumont as well! Together we along with the respective Traffic Enforcement Units from Port Neches PD, Nederland PD, Groves PD, Bridge City PD and Orange PD combine efforts to make motoring in southeast Texas as safe as motoring can be. Annually, we have more citizens hurt, injured, or killed as a result of a vehicle crash, than from gangsters, thugs, muggers or thieves committing felonious acts. Now to address your question, YES, it is legal to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Texas with the inside dome light on. Don’t feel bad, I’ve heard this being illegal as well!

Hailey from Groves Asks — Officer Antoine, I was blown back by you saying the only thing that’s more dangerous than texting and driving was driving while sleeping or DWI! Thanks for all you do! You opened my eyes and this is one girl who’s putting her cellphone down and just driving!
Answer — Good statement Hailey! Just when I feel like this column is redundant or getting old, someone walks up to me and tells me how much they enjoy this article on a weekly basis. Then there’s those like yourself who has made a like changing decision because of this article. Hailey drinking and driving is very dangerous and there’s an act we do that more dangerous than that like  texting while driving. I like to call it “INTEXTICATED DRIVING,” still using the state of Texas’ acronym DWI. Instead of intoxicated by an alcoholic substance, now we find law abiding citizens are distracted by cell phones TEXTING… I’m grateful this article opened your eyes to put your phone down while driving. Hailey help us spread the message that dealing with cellphones and driving a motor vehicle don’t MIX!!!! Pull over, turn the cellphone off, put cellphone in the trunk, remove the battery, do whatever you need to stay off of the cellphone while driving. Consider this, the very life you save just may be your OWN!

Join Me, Officer Antoine, for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for at least 1 hour from 1p-until we are done. 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 Remember to email your questions to or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can always free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop!”