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ASK A COP — Child pretends to drive in parking lot

Donny from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, thanks for your informative answers regarding Texas traffic laws. Officer Antoine, I was in the Central Mall parking lot the other day and saw the driver of a vehicle driving slowly through the parking lot with, I guesstimate, a 2-year-old standing on his lap with the steering wheel in the toddler’s hands pretending to be driving. Isn’t this like child abuse? What’s the fine for someone doing this?

Answer: Good question Donny! OK, you didn’t have a ticket book, Donny, but it sounds like you missed or haven’t taken advantage of calling in law enforcement. The act of allowing a toddler to stand on a driver’s lap in a motor vehicle pretending to drive on private property is NOT a crime in Texas. Remember we don’t regulate private property laws other than fire lane, disabled parking and driving while intoxicated. Donny, it may look horrible or careless to see a toddler on the lap of a driver, but on private property this is not illegal. Donny, no sir, I won’t say this act is child abuse, but we may be able to make a case of child endangerment pending on circumstances. Donny if this same act was performed on the roadway, this careless act instantly becomes ILLEGAL.

Cherry from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I was having a discussion with my husband the other day about the cost of our registration stickers. His car is valued a tad bit more than mine, but our registration cost is pretty much the same around $74. Are registration stickers priced for vehicles in accordance to the age and value of the vehicle? How are the costs for registrations determined?

Answer: Good question Cherry! In the state of Texas the registration cost is across the board the same for motor vehicles. The base registration fee in Texas is $50.75 plus $1 for TexasSure, the electronic insurance verification program and other Department of Public Safety initiatives. The total state registration is $51.75, but keep in mind Cherry, each county may add other fees to this cost. That’s why you and your husband are paying $74 for registration. If you recall the state inspection is only like $7 to complete but it appears the other half is due when you actually get your sticker. Cherry, why don’t you and your husband take a moment and actually itemize that registration paper. I’m sure everything that y’all are paying for is listed right there!

James from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, I was trying to think outside the box with this question. If for some reason my headlight goes out, is it legal for me to substitute an outside source of lighting, i.e. a big flashlight, for the blown headlight?

Answer: Good question James! Wow James did you ever think OUTSIDE the box on this one (smile)! Well James, the state of Texas doesn’t authorize the replacement equipment that you mentioned earlier. That actually seems like something Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies would do. James, we must make sure the equipment that we are using to replace something on our vehicles is state or federally approved.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article. 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 mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640.