Ask a Cop: Let’s be clear – Fireworks are illegal in PA
Published 12:10 am Tuesday, December 31, 2019
From the desk of the Chief of Police Tim Duriso and all of the wonderful dedicated employees of the Port Arthur Police De- partment, we wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe New Year 2020.
With that said, we need to mention a few reminders as you celebrate the New Year.
Remember that the lighting (popping) of fireworks in the city limits of Port Arthur is ILLEGAL!!!
Even the mere possession of fireworks in The City of Port Arthur is illegal. A fireworks dis- play is a beautiful show when conducted under the hands of skilled pyrotechnic engineers. There’s a great deal of danger, even death associated with the illegal ignition of fireworks.
Reports state that many of the injuries are burns, and they also include permanent scarring and blindness. In 2018, at least five people died from fireworks-related injuries, and about 9,100 people were treated in hospital emergency departments.
Now let’s mention not only are the popping of fireworks ILLEGAL, it’s also a noise nuisance to neighbors who are not actively involved with the crime of popping fireworks!
Along with that it’s difficult to distinguish the difference between fireworks and gunshots. Speaking of gunshots, the act of shooting a gun in the air in celebration of the New Year is ILLEGAL and dangerous.
Remember the bullets don’t go in the sky and stay there; what goes up must come down!
The littering of our city streets from debris from the used fireworks are unmentionable and embarrassing. Keep in mind that ANY law enforcement officer has the authority to confiscate any/all unused fireworks in your possession in the city of Port Arthur.
If found guilty in the city of Port Arthur municipal Court for the crime of igniting/popping or possession of fireworks, the fine begins at $500.
Lastly because it’s the New Year celebration, we are aware that many people celebrate with the toast of an alcoholic beverage exactly at midnight, when the New Year has arrived.
If you plan to consume any alcoholic beverages away from home during the New Year celebrations, please do so responsibly. Police officers will be out in force in Port Arthur and surrounding communities to assure our motorists have a safe place to travel from the threat of intoxicated/drunk drivers on our roadways.
O’Neil from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine I saw something the other day that made me scratch my head and wonder, “is that illegal?” I saw about four to five adults in the front seat of a pickup truck. Is there a limit on how many people can ride in the front seat of a vehicle?
Answer: Good question O’Neil! This Ask A Cop program is designed to change Driving behavior, not teach someone to drive. Safe driving is all of our responsibilities as licensed motorists on the Texas roadways. O’Neil there is no limit to how many people can legally occupy the front seat of a motor vehicle in Texas.
So the 4-5 people you saw in the front seat of the truck were within the guidelines of the Texas Transportation Code as long as all seatbelts were properly worn by three occupants of that vehicle or however many seat belt positions there were in the front seat. O’Neil, as long as all seatbelts in the vehicle are used, additional passengers can travel in the vehicle.
Horace from Beaumont asks: Officer Antoine, I have been told you’re one tough cop, who won’t cut anyone slack when you catch them speeding! I’ve been told you will stop and give someone a ticket for going 1 mile over the speed limit. If that’s true, you are a very hard nosed and don’t give in to speeders.
If it’s not true, how much do you allow someone to ego over the speed limit before you stop them? I’ve been told that DPS Troopers give 10 percent before the will stop a motorist and that sounds fair to me!
Answer: Good question Horace! I don’t consider my- self hard-nosed when working traffic enforcement. I just do an assignment that’s been given to me, like many other employees when they show up for work each day! No Horace, it’s not true, I do not nor have I ever stopped someone and issued them a citation for going only 1 mph over the posted speed limit.
Well Horace, if you think the DPS policy of allowing motorists 10 percent is fair, you’d think I’m a saint! Personally, I allow 9 mph over the posted limit before I stop a vehicle. Let’s put it in perspective look- ing at 10 percent. DPS will stop you at 34 mph in a 30 mph zone, I will not stop you until you’re 40 mph in a 30 mph zone. (Given it’s even true about DPS 10% rule). Horace, what keeps me going is knowing approximately 10 people will die in Texas today because of someone disobey- ing the Transportation Code of Texas, and in my opinion, all 10 deaths are preventable. Saving lives one stop at a Time!
Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article. You can also tune in via Internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live 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!