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ASK A COP: Should drivers without licenses call police following wrecks?

Pedro from Houston asks: My brother had a wreck on private property the other day and he didn’t call the police in Houston. My brother was at the gas station and another vehicle hit his vehicle but my brother was scared to report it because he didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance; he just let the other driver go. My brother didn’t want to get in trouble or have his car towed because he didn’t have a license or insurance. Was there anything my brother could have done other than let the other driver go away?

Answer: This is definitely a problem that we as law enforcement officers deal with repeatedly. While conducting an investigation of a motor vehicle crash we discover one or both drivers are not in possession of state of Texas minimum insurance coverage or a valid driver’s license. I’m not a fan of anyone who operates a motor vehicle without any of the above items (license, insurance) but I must say the state of Texas doesn’t require any motorist to possess a valid driver’s license on private property, nor do we routinely issue no insurance tickets for private property crashes. Your brother was a victim of a crash even if he didn’t have the required state documents. You should always feel free to contact your local law enforcement agency when you’re involved in a crash unless you and the other party decide to work it out amongst yourselves.

David from Nederland asks: Is it illegal for cities in the state of Texas to have cameras posted at traffic light intersections for the sole purpose of issuing citations to those drivers that break that law (running red lights)? If not, why doesn’t Port Arthur and all cities in Texas have them? I have seen so many “bad drivers” run these red lights and think to myself “Where is Officer Antoine when you need him?” Anyone that runs a red light is endangering lives and should be held accountable. If these cameras are legal in Texas, what would have to be done to get them installed at our intersections? I know this would make your job a little easier and the only people that would object to these cameras are the ones who are running red lights. Sometimes it is good to have “Big Brother” watching over us.

Answer: Red light cameras in Texas are totally LEGAL! The sole purpose is to DETER the offense of disregarding a red light at ANY intersection. Safety, safety, safety is the reason for red light cameras at intersections, because of the basic reason. When your light is RED, someone else’s light is GREEN. David, in 2013, 777 people were killed in crashes at intersections in Texas. Most people think MONEY is the main reason for red light cameras. I can guarantee you if you ask those 777 families who lost a loved one from the intersection crash if it’s about money, they will tell you “NO!” Texas averages over 200,000 crashes annually from some motor vehicle driver, pedestrian or bicyclist failing to obey intersection traffic control devices. I’ve learned as an observant driver, to wait a second or two after the red light turns green before I enter ANY intersection, no matter what city I’m in. I cannot tell you Chief Duriso’s opinion of a red light camera system in the city of Port Arthur at this time.

Tracie from Port Arthur asks: My coworker drives a truck and recalled the day she noticed three children from the neighborhood walking to school who had inadvertently missed their bus. Because she was going in that general direction she picked them up and drove them to school in the bed of her truck. She was told by a coworker she couldn’t do that, and of course this started a conversation on who’s right! Is it illegal for someone to ride in the bed of a truck?!

Answer: COVID-19 has everything altered right now. It is NOT illegal for someone who’s 18 years of age and above to ride in the bed of a pickup. But, you break the law in Texas if you transport someone who is under the age of 18 in the bed of a truck on the road of Texas. Unless those three children were 18 years old, your coworker, as kind as her act was, broke the law if the children were not at least 18 years of age!

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for “Ask A Cop” live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday (Today) from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as Antoine discusess the “Ask A Cop” article. Call in a question at 409-982-0247. Email 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!”