ASK A COP — Leave space between you, 18-wheeler

Published 12:09 am Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kelvin from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I have a question about something I experienced the other day as a passenger in a vehicle while David, my coworker, was driving.

For the most part, Officer Antoine, I can honestly say David is a safe driver, because if not I’d surely find someone else to commute with! David was behind an 18-wheeler truck as we approached an intersection. Dave didn’t really see the light until he was under the intersection, and to his disbelief it was RED! Yes, Dave ran a red light. My question is, would Dave been given a ticket because he couldn’t see the light because the size of the 18-wheeler truck that was in front of us?

Answer: Good Question Kelvin! Thankfully no one was injured when Dave disregarded the red light. Kelvin, it appears Dave was simply following too close behind the large commercial vehicle in front of him to see the traffic signal ahead. There’s no actual footage given in the Texas Transportation Code for safe following distance.

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Kelvin, many motorists make the mistake to giving the same traveling distance behind an 18-wheeler as they would give to a Toyota Corolla. The question that should linger in Dave’s mind is exactly when did the traffic signal turn RED! It’s a real possibility that the 18-wheeler disregarded the traffic light as well, because, trust me, I’ve had to stop and issue citations to many commercial motor vehicle drivers who disregard red lights. Kelvin, their main excuse is they didn’t have time to stop the large truck. So, Kelvin, from now on give some room to clearly see what’s going on when traveling behind large commercial vehicles, and that would be SAFE DRIVING!

Janice from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine I pray that this New Year find you and your family in the best of mind and health. I’ve been a follower of this article for a few years now, and I’ve enjoyed the information you pass on to the readers. Officer Antoine, I was in the parking lot at a mall in Houston during the holiday, and I observed several parking violations and I scratched my head saying they couldn’t get away with that at home (Port Arthur/Beaumont area). There must have been a meeting of the rich and famous at the mall because about 10 very expensive vehicles were parked and they took up a whole row of parking. I understand they are proud of their vehicles but that was unnecessary for them to take up all of the space. I’ve even seen a police officer pass by, but didn’t even write tickets or take any action. Officer Antoine, what is the penalty for such parking?

Answer: Good question, Janice! Thanks to you and the many of followers of this article as we continue to reach out and educate our communities. It always put a smile on my face to know that we’re somehow HELPING! Janice, the penalty for the parking situation you described in Houston is BAD PARKING! There’s no law on Texas that regulates this type of parking. It’s private property, so the only entity that can enforce BAD PARKING behavior is the management of said property. As long as a FIRE lane or DISABLED parking spot wasn’t overtaken by such parking, police officers hands are pretty much tied on enforcement of any law! With that said, the exact same thing could have happened in Port Arthur or any city in Texas unless management steps in.

Mike from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I saw something the other day that bothered me while traveling on the highway, so like so many others, it’s my time to Ask A Cop!

Officer Antoine, I was driving to Beaumont for an appointment and I came up behind a dump truck that had a sign on the back that read “Stay back 300’ (feet) not responsible for damage!” This really bothered me because if that truck runs over a rock and it hits my windshield, I expect that company to repair my vehicle.

Officer Antoine, at the moment you’re close enough to read the sign, you’re well within 300 feet. Can trucks and companies issue this kind of disclaimer and avoid damaging someone else’s vehicle? Is this legal?

Answer: Good question Mike! I’ve seen these disclaimer notices on commercial vehicles such as dump trucks. Which in my opinion, this “Stay back 300’” sign is not rational driving on our highways in Texas. Mike, think about it, 300 feet is a whole city block, or a 100-yard football field, that trucking companies are claiming immunity to any damages resulting from items falling from their trucks.

Now, Mike, I will say if the object comes from the ground and propels to your vehicle by the tire, if the truck has proper mud guards installed, there’s nothing in the Texas Transportation Code that faults the truck company. Mike, the Mud Flaps can be no higher than 8 inches for the road. On the other hand, if the object comes out of the bed of the truck, the trucking company can be found at fault for failing to secure or cover their load! I don’t see how the “Stay back 300’” signs can have much weight in a civil proceeding.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, 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 that printed in The News. You can also tune in via Internet at Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247.

 Remember to email your questions to, 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!