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ASK A COP — Which vehicles have to stop at railroad crossings?

Nyemoi from Port Arthur asks: Are ALL vehicles supposed to stop before crossing a railroad crossing? I remember taking my driver’s test not so very long ago and was penalized for not stopping before crossing at a railroad track. Is it the law in Texas that we stop before crossing a railroad crossing track?

Answer: When taking a chance at railroad crossing you are 40 percent more likely to be killed from the impact than being in a crash of a motor vehicle. In the state of Texas you are NOT required to stop at a railroad crossing unless you are driving a school bus or a commercial motor vehicle. All other vehicles are optional if they’re going to stop or proceed across with caution. Nyemoi, you said it was counted against you during your driving test for not stopping at a railroad crossing. They may have wanted you to be a little more cautious since you were a beginner behind the wheel, because not stopping at an all clear (safe) railroad crossing in Texas is not illegal.

Jack from Groves asks: I have a grandson who was involved in a fender bender a few weeks ago. He was hit from the back and no one involved in the wreck was injured, but he did lose the red tail lamp on the driver’s side of his vehicle. My grandson has made up his mind since his car is still drivable to patch up his lens with red tape. I told him I don’t think it’s legal. Can you apply red tape to a crack to the rear tail lamp lens if the lens are broken?

Answer: To accurately answer your question, “YES,” you can apply red tape to a vehicle’s rear red lamp but it’s NOT legal to operate a motor vehicle on the Texas roadway with red tape on the red tail lamp that’s covering up a damaged tail lamp. Just because you’ve seen someone do this or because they sell the tape in the auto parts store doesn’t mean it’s legal to operate a motor vehicle with a patched lens. You definitely wouldn’t be able to pass state inspection with such equipment on your vehicle.

Tiffany from Nederland asks: I’m having a debate with my boyfriend about the usage of turn signals. If you are a driver of a car in a turn lane, let’s say it’s a turn only lane, and you are maybe the third car in line, do you have to put your turn signal on?

Answer: Apparently this is a difficult law to understand. Law enforcement officers find so many people on a daily basis who fail to use their turn signals properly, whether it’s an indicator for lane changing or making a legal turn. State law requires you use your turn signal when turning, and yes, even if you’re the third car in line. The turn signal must be activated on your vehicle 100 feet before you intend to turn.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Call at 409-982-0247. Email questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a message 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!