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ASK A COP — How far does the no-texting law go in Texas?

Mike from Bridge City asks: I thought Texas had a no-texting law in place that prohibits drivers of these cars from texting while behind the wheel. It seems like every day, especially at red lights, people’s heads are buried in those darn phones. It’s almost like Texas doesn’t have a law addressing such behavior. In my opinion, texting and driving is out of control. Can Texas install cameras at red lights to catch these drivers messing with their cellphones while stopped at the light? Can someone be arrested for texting while driving L?

Answer: I can understand your frustration about drivers’ inattentiveness behind the wheel on the roads of Texas. Distracted driving is no joke, and lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the state of Texas should make every effort to address this issue. While you are correct that texting while driving is a violation in Texas, the same law allows motorists to text at red lights while the vehicle is not in motion. I’m not in agreement with the allowance of texting while the vehicle is on a roadway, but I only enforce laws. The next time you’re at a traffic signal and look over and someone has their head buried in their cellphone, remember they’re NOT breaking the texting law in Texas. The state of Texas doesn’t authorize law enforcement officers to arrest anyone merely for texting while driving unless serious bodily injury or death occurs because of someone texting. You can be cited for texting while driving a motor vehicle.

Jerry from Nederland asks: The other day I found myself on Twin City Highway behind a lady in a big truck that was driving in the inside lane with her turn signal on to change lanes. Well, her signal stayed on from 39th Street to Gulfway, and I’m sure beyond that I can’t confirm because I turned off at Gulfway. She never changed lanes, and I was furious behind her waiting like a dummy for this woman to change lanes. I looked and looked for a policeman, but none were found in that area. Exactly how far can someone drive in a truck with their blinker on and not change lanes?

Answer: Even if I was right behind her, there wasn’t much I could do because it is NOT illegal to drive with the turn indicator on continuously and not turn or change lanes. The Texas Transportation Code says a motorist must signal at least 100 feet before turning. The Code doesn’t address the maximum a signal can be on. If you are going to change lanes, you must first signal and wait until it’s safe for such movement. Jerry, there are approximately 2 million crashes accounted for annually in this country because someone failed to properly use or failed to use their turn signals, and over half of motorists surveyed admitted not using their turn signal. It’s not like your turn indicator runs out of fluid.

Nancy from Nederland asks: Often times on weekends or after school zone times, the yellow flashing lights are still flashing. The last thing I need is a ticket, and OMG I’d just die if it was you stopping me for something I should know. If the school zone lights are flashing, is that an active school zone?

Answer: I’m glad you inquired about the flashing lights in our school zones. The flashing lights are mechanical, and like all equipment, they are going to malfunction. The city installed a school zone sign with printed times and that won’t malfunction. You should always look for the sign in school zones to be certain of the school zone times. I’ve seen school zone lights flashing on the weekend and that surely wasn’t a school zone. The flashing lights are to get motorists attention, but the SIGN is the LAW!!! If the school zone lights are flashing outside the posting school zone times, the school zone is NOT enforceable.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. as he discusses Ask A Cop . Tune in also at ksapthebreeze.org. Ask your question live 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.