ASK A COP — Is an international driver’s license real in Texas?
Rosa from Port Arthur asks: I have a cousin who’s always bragging about the international driver’s license he has and his ability to drive in ANY country without conflict. I’ve asked him on several occasions where did he get his international license from, and he has yet to reveal where he’s got it. Let it be known that my cousin does NOT have a Texas issued driver’s license. So I’ve decided it’s my time to contribute to the column and Ask A Cop. Officer Antoine, where can someone obtain an international license and is this legal?
Answer: I smell something rotten going on with your cousin and the international driver’s license he possess. There is a legitimate document that can legally be acquired called an International Driver’s License, but the holder of such license MUST possess a valid Texas Driver’s License. So to set the record straight, an international driver’s license in of Texas is worthless. An international driver’s license CANNOT be accepted as sole proof of identity or permission to operate a motor vehicle in Texas. An international driver’s license is an interpretation of your state issued driver’s license to stop a lot of back-and-forth when in foreign countries, so if you plan to travel to foreign countries where the English language is not used, it may be helpful to obtain an international license.
Scott from Port Arthur asks: I’m a proud owner of a BBQ pit on wheels. From time to time I drive to east Texas and, of course, always have my pit in tow. The problem is my trailer is homemade and is not registered with the county or state, nor do I have a VIN number assigned to it. I was told I needed to have the trailer registered. Is this true? If so, how do I go about this since there’s no VIN?
Answer: Homemade trailers under 4,000 pounds gross weight are not required have a Vehicle Identification Number unless you are going to title it. The BBQ pit trailer is an extension of your truck, so it needs to be properly outfitted to be road legal if you are planning to transport the pit trailer. You should have proper lighting and a license plate on the rear of your trailer. Scott, you will have to contact the Department of Motor Vehicle to obtain a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), who will refer you to the local auto task theft police officer to verify the pit trailer is not stolen before a VIN is assigned. This is done to all homemade trailers who owners desire their trailers to be registered. All trailer owners should have this process done. In the unfortunate event of a theft, the trailer can be logged into state and national databases and identified anywhere in the country if found by law enforcement officers.
Lee from Port Arthur asks: If a police officer stops you or attempts to stop you, but you were able to make it home before you physically stop your car, are you at a safety point where police officers can’t pursue any more? We asked this because my wife’s cousin told us a police officer attempted to stop him a block away from his home, so he kept driving until he reached his driveway, and the officer told him he was lucky he made it home first. So is this true if you make it home, is the driver free from being ticketed?
Answer: It almost makes me laugh because the only place I know you’re safe is when you make it home is in the game of baseball. If a police officer initiates a traffic stop on any vehicle, that vehicle is not safe if he makes it home. Whatever the officer accused you of, and attempted to stop you for before you make it to your home, you are NOT safe. Once again you are not safe, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are out either. The best course of action is to pull over to the right side of the roadway as soon and as safe as possible. The officer is the one who decides whether to issue a citation or not. Lee, you can pull up in your driveway, garage, work, store or church and the officer will be right there as well. Just keep in mind, if you see emergency lights, pull over and stop to the right.
Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. You can also tune in via internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 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!