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ASK A COP — How young is too young to ride on a motorcycle?

Kate from Nederland Asks: I have a nephew that has a 4-year-old son whom he absolutely treasures. My nephew has a motorcycle and allows his son to ride on the roadway with him. He assures his son has a helmet on for his safety. I really don’t see this as being a safe mode to travel but I don’t know if there’s a law against such behavior. Is there a law in Texas that addresses the beginning age of a rider of a motorcycle?

Answer: There is absolutely a law in the state of Texas that prohibits riders under the age of 5 from riding as a passenger of a motorcycle on the roadway. I applaud your nephew for at least putting a helmet on his son, but even with the helmet he’s in violation of the Texas Transportation Code. Texas is one of few states that mandated a minimum age while being a rider of a motorcycle. Now, if there’s a side car, there’s no age restriction, but if the child is being transported on the seat behind the driver, he/she must be 5 years of age or greater. Also no one under 21 can be a passenger or driver  of a motorcycle without a helmet in the state of Texas.

Keith from Port Arthur Asks: Every time I go with my wife to pick up our daughter from daycare, she always parks in the no parking zone, but she leaves the flashers on because she plans to run in and out. She says she does it because she’ll be right back. I told her this is still illegal, but she doesn’t believe so.

Answer: The very reason why your wife turns on her hazard lamps is because she knows she’s doing something illegal. Keith, for some reason, people believe hazard lamps are the passageway to breaking the state of Texas laws, but hazard lamps don’t excuse willful transgressors of the law. If you make up your mind to park in a no parking zone, please understand you are violating state law, and your hazard lambs don’t magically give you clearance to break any of the state parking laws.

Gail from Beaumont Asks: Either I’m confused about the texting while driving law or it seems hardly anyone on the road seems to be paying attention. I’m constantly observing drivers texting and driving, not obeying the texting and driving law. Everywhere I go, I see people still with their phones in their hands while on the roadways. I thought Texas was now a hands-free cell phone zone! Could you please tell me the fine for texting while driving? Could you explain the laws regarding texting while driving in Texas?

Answer: It doesn’t really seem much has changed since the passing of the Texas Texting while Driving Law in 2017. Cellphones are still being used because the law says they can do everything else not relating to communicating via texting. This law has been presented in Texas four times before it finally passed in 2017. IN MY OPINION, this law is simply a band-aid on a serious gunshot wound. It doesn’t have much for law enforcement officers to work with. It only addresses reading, writing or sending electronic messages, but any other functions on cellphones are permitted. This is why we need this law stricter because. In 2014, 3,179 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers and an additional 431,000 were injured. In 2016, there were 109,658 traffic crashes in Texas alone that involved distracted driving, leading to over 3,000 serious injuries and at least 455 fatalities. The sobering truth is texting while driving makes a car accident 23-34 times more likely to occur. Here are the cellphone laws in Texas: (1) Drivers cannot send or receive electronic messages in Texas. (2) Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving. (3) Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using wireless communications devices. (4) School bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present. (5) In school zones, all drivers are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving. Also, many municipalities have enacted their ordinance to combat the dangerous act of texting while driving. The fine for texting while driving is $25 up to $99.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. as Antoine discusses the Ask A Cop article. Ask your question 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!