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Ask a Cop: Officer Antoine has answers

Paul from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I’m a regular reader of the “Ask a Cop” column and listener of “Ask a Cop Live.” I’ve found them to be informational, educational and — especially the radio show — quite entertaining.

I have a small sports car that’s pretty fast. Let me clear the air: I’m not a speeder; I just like my car. My question is let’s say the speed limit is 50 mph and I’m at a traffic light that’s red. When the light turns green is it illegal to quickly get up to 50 mph?

Answer: Very good question, Paul. Thanks for being a regular follower of this column and the radio show. I’m honored and humbled to have an amazing opportunity to educate and entertain our citizens.

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to motor vehicles. It’s amazing that an expensive luxury car’s best feature on any commercial is how fast it goes. Paul, I was impressed to hear you’re not a speeder, even though you have a sports car. If you’re stopped at a traffic signal that’s red and it turns green, as long as you do not do what’s commonly known as burn rubber from a stopped position, there’s no law governing how fast you can get up to 50 mph, as long as it can be done safely.

So, Paul, enjoy your sports car, drive safely and always remember speeding kills.

Mike from Bridge City asks: Officer Antoine, I thought Texas had a no texting law in place that prohibits drivers of cars from texting while behind the wheel. It seems like every day, especially at red lights, people’s heads are buried in those darn phones. It’s almost like Texas doesn’t have a law addressing such behavior.

Officer Antoine, in my opinion, texting and driving is out of control. Can Texas install cameras at red lights to catch these drivers messing with their cellphones while stopped at the light?

Answer: Good question, Mike. I can understand your frustration about driver’s inattentiveness behind the wheel on the roads of Texas. Distracted driving is no joke, and lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the state of Texas should make every effort to address this issue.

The safety of all motorists on our roadway is paramount and adding cellphone distractions only compromise our safety goal. But, Mike, I believe you are lacking understanding about the Texas texting law. While you are correct that texting while driving is a violation in Texas, the same law does allow for motorists to text at red lights when the vehicle is not in motion. I’m not in agreement with the allowance of texting while the vehicle is on a roadway, but I only enforce laws.

So, the next time you’re at a traffic signal and you look over and someone has their head buried in their cellphone, remember they’re not breaking the law in Texas.

Kenneth from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, you don’t have to print this because I’ve read your answer before. But my grandpa has a blue handicap-parking pass that he refuses to take off his rear view mirror. Everywhere he goes, the handicap card is still swinging and, of course, he thinks he’s right. Will you find it in your heart to call my grandpa and let him know this is illegal?

Answer: Good question, Kenneth. Not only will I call your grandpa, I will also publish your question because the information regarding the blue and red placards apparently isn’t in every household.

I wish the Department of Motor Vehicles would administer a one-question test before handing out the placard. The one question should be: Are you allowed to drive a motor vehicle with the placard you are about to be assigned on the rear view mirror? The placard is only for parking. As far as I know, there are no lanes designated for disabled motorists, so there’s no need to display the placard while driving.

Kenneth, I always encourage motorists to read the fourth line on the placard, and it will tell you not to drive with the placard on the rear view mirror. If your grandpa is truly adamant about displaying the placard while driving, explain to him that the placard impairs his vision and that he’s welcome to request disabled license plates from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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

Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or 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 always “Ask a Cop!”