ASK A COP — Can I drive through malfunctioning flashing railroad arms?

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, November 3, 2020

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Gary from Port Arthur asks: What is the procedure for a railroad arm that’s stuck down with its light flashing for an extended period of time? If there is no train in sight, what are drivers to do? It makes no sense to just sit at a place where the lights are obviously malfunctioning.

Answer: This is a very simple question that apparently many people are lacking clarity regarding the answer. When you are stopped at a railroad crossing where the arms are malfunctioning, red lights flashing and clearly no train in sight, you simply “WAIT” or turn around and go the other direction. If you see someone go between the railroad’s arms, that doesn’t mean follow the leader, because if law enforcement is in the area, you just may be the violator they see crossing. Every three hours someone is involved in a train crash in this country. In 2017, 232 people were needlessly killed in the U.S because drivers failed to take the railroad warning seriously and ultimately paid with their lives. This has prompted the slogan “STOP BECAUSE TRAINS CAN’T!” So Gary, just be informed the next time you happen to be in line at a railroad crossing. You are free to turn around and go around the intersection. Just don’t go around the arms.

Tina from Groves asks: My husband is not totally reformed on his bad driving habits, and I’m the least bit excited when he drives especially on the highway. He’s more conscientious about laws than he’s ever been, because there was a time when I wouldn’t ride with him. My husband is a habitual tailgater. If he wants to pass another vehicle on the highway, he gets too close to them to intimidate the other driver to move over. Did I mention he drives a big truck? This has me pulling my hair out. How close can you be to a vehicle before you violate the driving-too-close law?

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Answer: Tina, tell your husband tailgating is only OK as long as he’s in the parking lot of a football game for either high school, collegiate or professional sports team like the champions, The Pittsburgh Steelers (smile)! Your husband’s driving behavior on the highways where the speed limits are higher are very dangerous and should be stopped immediately. There’s no set footage or distance given by the state for traveling on the roads of Texas, only that it’s done at a safe distance. I hope this gets your husband’s attention that according  to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for approximately 23 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, resulting in approximately 2,000 deaths and 950,000 injuries.

Paul from Port Arthur asks: I have a small sports car that’s pretty fast. Let me clear the air, I’m not a speeder, I just like my car. My question is, let’s say the speed limit is 50 mph and I’m at a traffic light that’s red, when the light turns green is it illegal to quickly get up to 50 mph?

Answer: It’s amazing that an expensive luxury car’s best feature on any commercial is how FAST it goes. Paul, I was impressed to hear you’re not a speeder, even though you have a sports car. If you’re stopped at a traffic signal that’s red and it turns green, as long as you “DO NOT” do what’s commonly known as burn rubber from a stopped position, there’s no law governing how fast you can get up to 50 mph, as long as it can be done SAFELY! Enjoy your sports car, drive safely and always remember speeding kills.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for “Ask A Cop” live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as Officer Antoine discusses the newly released “Ask A Cop” article. You can tune in via the internet at or call 409-982-0247. Remember to email your questions to, 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!”