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ASK A COP — It’s a speed LIMIT, not suggestion

James from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine thanks for all your answers to provide for our community regarding safe driving. I’ve been driving for quite some time and I was told something many moons ago and I’m wondering now if it’s even true. Officer Antoine here’s my question: Is it true that police officers will allow motorists 5 mph over the speed limit before they are considered speeding?

Answer: Good question James! Wow! Talk about a myth. James this is probably the biggest misconception motorists have when it come to law enforcement on speeders! The posted white sign with black letters/numbers on a speed LIMIT sign is the law, not a suggestion! So James any speed above the speed limit sign is a violation of the Texas Transportation Code, and you can be stopped and issued a citation for speeding for going 1 mph over the posted sign. There’s one word missing on the speed limit sign that would stop any confusion and that word is MAXIMUM. The sign should read “maximum speed limit.” In order to be legal you’re welcome to drive at or under the posted sign, just not over! Now with that said I will admit that most law enforcement officers don’t routinely stop and issue citations for motorists who are going 5 mph over the posted speed limit sign because they’re looking for those motorists who pose the greater risk of danger on our roadways, like those going over 10 mph over the speed limit. So James keep in mind anytime you go over the posted speed limit sign you’re giving any law enforcement officer the right to stop you!

Jessica from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine I was traveling the other day from the mall in Baytown. I wasn’t very familiar with the area, and I made a bad turn and cut another vehicle off. The driver of said vehicle was rightfully upset but as she passed me she shot me the middle finger. I was shocked and this angered me to the point that I wanted to return the same gesture, but my fiancé told me not to do that because it was illegal. I’ve never heard of such thing. Officer Antoine is it illegal to shoot someone the middle finger while on the roadway in a car?

Answer: Good question Jessica! Well first I’m glad you weren’t involved in a crash due to your improper turn. Road rage is real in the great state of Texas, and you experienced it and thankfully you were not a casualty of that road rage! Jessica your fiancé is 100 percent correct and pointing the middle finger is an offensive gesture in Texas. We all know what you are non-verbally communicating to another individual, so if another person finds that middle finger offensive, YES you can be cited or even arrested if done in the presence of a law enforcement officer. Jessica this also goes for verbally saying curse words in a public place. It’s called disorderly conduct in Texas! So Jessica don’t forget to thank your fiancé.

Shelia from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine my 85-year-old mother and I just love your article Ask A Cop. My mother recently forgot to put her current insurance card in her vehicle and was quite shakened to drive without the current card. I wasn’t quite sure if she would be violating the law if she couldn’t show her insurance card either. So I said ‘Mom we are always reading everybody else’s question, let’s ask Officer Antoine our own question!’ Is it illegal to drive a vehicle with expired insurance card?

Answer: Good question Shelia! I appreciate you and your mom supporting this column. It’s you and many many many other readers that have been keeping this column alive over seven years. My mom was my biggest supporter. I remember she would cut out and save every article and tuned in to every live broadcast on The Breeze from the beginning. But today thanks to Harvey, the storm took away all of those clippings. Shelia today you are required to present a current insurance card when requested by a police officer but if your card is expired most law enforcement agencies are connected with the state insurance system and are able to instantly tell whether or not the insurance on your vehicle is current. Officers should NOT issue a citation to anyone they can prove current insurance coverage through the state of Texas registration system.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday (Today) for 1.5 hours from 1–2:30 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!