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ASK A COP — Has the pandemic extended the REAL ID timeline requirement?

From the desk of the Chief of Police Tim Duriso and ALL of the hard-working men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department: We’d like to encourage everyone to be safe, responsible and have a very Merry Christmas. We understand the way we gather and celebrate may be different this year, but we continue to encourage everyone to follow local, state and federal guidelines as we seek to battle this deadly virus. Our prayers are that you may experience love, peace and joy this Christmas year!


Eric from Port Arthur asks: The REAL ID was required and expected to go into effect in October 2020. Because the Pandemic we are facing from COVID-19, did REAL ID go into affect as expected?


Answer: The REAL ID deadline has been has been extended until Oct. 1, 2021. Here’s an interesting fact “as of February, less than 35 percent of U.S. identification cards complied with new requirements included in the REAL ID Act.” Having a REAL ID will allow us to fly domestically without a passport and allow access into government buildings. If you haven’t updated your license or ID card yet, you have been given an extension until Oct. 1 2021.


Victor from Beaumont asks: My cousin has a cracked windshield and he’s scared to get it inspected because of the fear of failing the inspection. He’s not in a financial place to replace his windshield but needs to renew his registration sticker. Is there anything he can do to get his inspection passed with a cracked windshield?


Answer: Victor, I may have good news for your cousin. The front windshield is not an inspection item, but the windshield wipers and blades are inspected items. Even though there may be a crack in the windshield, as long as the windshield wipers and blades are functional, as well as the other inspected items, his vehicle should pass inspection so he can renew his registration.


Mike from Port Arthur asks: I was driving to Beaumont for an appointment and came up behind a dump truck that had a sign on the back that read “Stay back 300 feet, not responsible for damage!” This really bothered me because if that truck runs over a rock and it hits my windshield, I expect that company to repair my vehicle. At the moment you’re close enough to read the sign, you’re well within 300 feet. Can trucks and companies issue this kind of disclaimer and avoid damaging someone else’s vehicle? Is this legal?


Answer: I’ve seen these disclaimer notices on commercial vehicles, such as dump trucks. In my opinion, this stay back 300 feet sign is not rational driving on our highways in Texas. Think about it, 300 feet is a whole city block or a 100-yard football field that trucking companies are claiming immunity to any damages resulting from items falling from their trucks. Now Mike, I will say if the object comes from the ground and propels to your vehicle by the tire, if the truck has proper mudguards installed, there’s nothing in the Texas Transportation Code that faults the truck company. The Mud Flaps can be no higher than 8 inches from the road. On the other hand, if the object comes out of the bed of the truck, the trucking company can be found at fault for failing to secure or cover their load. I don’t see how the stay back 300 feet signs can have much weight in a civil proceeding.


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 Ask A Cop article. Feel free to call in at 409-982-0247. Remember to 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!