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ASK A COP: School’s out: How ‘bout those lights?

ASK A COP

Port Arthur Police Officer Rickey Antoine

Gene from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, now that school is over for summer break I’ve still observed school zone lights flashing. Is the school active still during the summer break? I don’t want to get a ticket because I am one who truly respects the speed limit in school zones  and watch out for the children. So what are we to do during the summer months while the lights are still flashing in school zones? Thanks for your help.

Answer: Good question, Gene! This is always a concern for many motorists once school has ended for summer vacation for our students. Gene, law enforcement officers will NOT be enforcing the speed limit in school zones during the summer break. Yes, we are aware that the yellow caution lights may still be flashing but you will not be held accountable to obey the school zone signs during the summer break. Gene, this also applies to certain holidays during the school year like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day.

 

David from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, is it illegal for cities in the state of Texas to have cameras posted at traffic light intersections for the sole purpose of issuing citations to those drivers that break that law (running red lights)? If not, why don’t Port Arthur and all cities in Texas have them? I have seen so many “bad drivers” run these red lights and think to myself “Where is Officer Antoine when you need him?” Anyone that runs a red light is endangering lives and should be held accountable. If these cameras are legal in Texas, what would have to be done to get them installed at our intersections? I know this would make your job a little easier and the only people that would object to these cameras are the ones who are running red lights. Sometimes it is good to have “Big Brother” watching over us. Thanks, Officer Antoine, not only for your “Ask A Cop” answers, but for your service and protection of Port Arthur.

Answer: Good question, David! Red light cameras in Texas are totally legal! David, let me enlighten you on the sole purpose of red light cameras: To deter the offense of disregarding a red light at any intersection. Safety, safety, safety is the reason for red light cameras at intersections, because of the basic reason. When your light is red, someone else’s light is green. David, in 2013, 777 people were killed in crashes at intersections in Texas. Most people think money is the main reason for red light cameras. I can guarantee you if you ask those 777 families who lost a loved one from the intersection crash if it’s about money, they will tell you “no!” Texas averages over 200,000 crashes annually from some motor vehicle driver, pedestrian or bicyclist failing to obey intersection traffic control devices. I’ve learned as an observant driver to wait a second or two after the red light turns green before I enter any intersection, no matter what city I’m in. Thanks for being a reader of my weekly article, “Ask A Cop.”

 

TC from Port Neches asks: Thanks for this article, Officer Antoine! The other day I was traveling on Jimmy Johnson Boulevard approaching Twin City Highway intersection to turn left. When my light turned green, I proceeded to enter in the intersection, only to find myself in a near collision with another vehicle that was turning off Twin City onto Jimmy Johnson Boulevard that ran a red light because an ambulance was behind it with its emergency lights on. Who would have been at fault if I had collided with the other vehicle?

Answer: Good question, TC! The scenario you described is where you legally entered an intersection and were almost struck by another vehicle. TC, even though the other vehicle was moving out of the way for an emergency vehicle, you still had the right of way. We need to keep in mind even if we’re giving way to an emergency vehicle, the movement must be done safely. Also, no one can authorize you to run a red light in Texas but a police officer. If the vehicle felt the urgency to get out of the way of the ambulance with its emergency lights on, the driver should’ve put its right turn signal on and turned right. TC, if the ambulance had an emergency, it would have activated its emergency siren. So from what I see sir, you did correctly and the other vehicle would have been the fault vehicle.

 

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 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!

 

See also: ASK A COP — On traffic stops, you must ID yourself