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ASK A COP — How close is too close when tailgating behind a motorist?

Tina from Groves asks: My husband is not totally reformed on his bad driving habits, and I’m not 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. Officer Antoine, 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 are can you be to a vehicle before you violate the driving-too-close law?

Answer: I personally don’t know a perfect driver (myself included), but I’m grateful for motorists like yourself and thousands of others who have taken an interest in this column to increase our knowledge of the Texas Transportation Code. In my opinion, once our knowledge about the laws on the road is better, we drive better, which will in turn make our roads safer! Tina, you are correct, 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.

Margarette from Bridge City asks: You mentioned a minimum speed limit on Highway 69. I haven’t seen a sign giving that information. My 2nd question is about setting the parking brake. I was of the understanding that putting the car in Park mode was the same as putting the parking brake in standard shift cars. Is the park position on the automatic transmission cars the same as the parking brake?

Answer: There are no minimum speed limit signs posted on Highway 69. In recent past, there was a minimum speed limit sign on highways in Texas and it was 45 mph. I still today hold to that standard. The Texas Transportation Code 545.363 states an operator may not drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law. The posted speed limit on Highway 69 is 75 mph. If in optimum conditions you are not traveling at least 45 mph in the RIGHT lane, you will be impeding the traffic flow.

Texas Transportation Code 545.404(a)(4) upon leaving a vehicle unattended a driver must effectively set the parking brake. Whether in a standard or automatic transmission, vehicle drivers must set the parking brake once exiting a vehicle that’s unattended

Helen from Port Arthur asks: My husband and I are always getting into a disagreement when he drives because he doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of the white line at an intersection. Please help us settle this dilemma, because he always stops over the white line. What is the white line at an intersection for?

Answer: The solid white line at intersections seems to be a law in Texas that’s often overlooked whether knowingly or unknowingly. The white line at an intersection is a STOP line, where motorists should STOP behind the white line. Motorists shouldn’t be stopped on any part of the solid white stop line, but behind it. Of course, the white line is at intersections for safety reasons to allow safe passage for pedestrians crossing the road, and for vehicles turning your direction to safely turn in the appropriate lane. If your husband is stopping on or beyond the white stop line at intersections, he definitely is in violation of a state law in Texas.

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. as Antoine discusses the Ask A Cop article. Tune in via the internet at ksapthebreeze.org, and call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, 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!