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Ask a Cop: Driver must prove vehicle’s insured

Hershel from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I enjoy the column and I’m able to catch your radio show every Tuesday as well. My son was driving his friend’s car and he was stopped by a police officer for a violation he committed. But while addressing the reason he was stopped, it was also discovered the vehicle didn’t have insurance. May I inform you the owner of the vehicle was in the passenger seat during the entire encounter? My question is: If the owner was present, why did my son get the ticket for no insurance? This doesn’t seem fair or right to me.
It wasn’t my son’s responsibility to insure the vehicle. Can you clear this up for me? Thanks and I’ll be listening Tuesday.

Answer: Good question, Hershel. I’m sure we’ve all done something similar to this, driven someone’s vehicle without assuring the vehicle is currently covered with at least the state minimum liability insurance. Taking this step for granted could cause us to be in the same position your son was in. The reason why your son was cited is because he operated a motor vehicle without insurance, not he owned a vehicle that wasn’t insured. That’s how the charge will read. When we drive someone else’s vehicle, we temporarily assume responsibility, Hershel, so the officer couldn’t write the ticket to the owner because he wasn’t the driver. I get that request oftentimes because someone was doing a favor for a passenger. The driver is cited and passenger asks if I could write them the ticket. Of course not, that would be falsifying a legal document. So let this be a lesson to us all when using someone else’s vehicle: Ask for the insurance card before you operate their vehicle!

The Breeze Caller asks: Officer Antoine, since radar detectors are legal to possess in Texas, are there any instruments that are illegal to operate in relations to radar detectors in vehicles?

Answer: Good question, caller. Yes, there’s an instrument called a radar jammer or laser jammer scrambler, and that device is totally illegal to operate in the state of Texas. The Texas Transportation Code 546.616 states: (b) A person other than a law enforcement officer in the discharge of the officer’s official duties, may not use, attempt to use, install, operate or attempt to operate a radar interference device in a motor vehicle operated by the person. So, Caller, in Texas, if you have a radar jammer, it’s best you keep it on your shelf in your home next to your best-read novel. These radar jammers cannot be legally purchased anywhere in the state of Texas. Because the code further states: (c) A person may not purchase, sell, or offer for sell a radar interference device. Caller, of course these instruments are only to the interest of extreme law-breaking speeders. Motorists need to be put on notice that these instruments may not work as advertised. Caller, life would be so much simpler if we just obey the law!

Mable from Groves asks: Officer Antoine, I pray daily for you and all of our police officers’ protection. I know y’all have a dangerous job to look over the safety and welfare of all citizens not only in your local community, but the entire state of Texas. Officer Antoine, I have a parking problem on my street every day. When I attempt to back out of my driveway, there’s a vehicle parked across the street directly behind my driveway. I’ve spoken with a neighbor about the parking before. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble because they have parked badly. What can be done, Officer Antoine, and what violation is this?

Answer: Good, question Mable! Parking problems are always a constant issue and your dilemma, as well as many others, should be addressed. Firstly, Mable, I must advise you that your neighbors didn’t do anything wrong when they parked on the other side of the road behind your driveway. I understand the stress and difficulty it may require you to be careful exiting your driveway, but the law doesn’t require motorists to park any different. Your best conclusion would be to continue to speak with your neighbors, not demanding, but you would appreciate if they don’t park there because you don’t want to damage anyone’s vehicle. Keep in mind Mable, if you back into one of those vehicles you can be cited for unsafe backing. With that said, don’t back out if it can’t be done so safely!

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. 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 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 Ask A Cop!