ASK A COP — During an emergency, can anyone drive over the speed limit with flashers?
Published 12:05 pm Monday, November 1, 2021
Mary from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, when transporting a person to the hospital in an emergency, can anyone drive over the speed limit with their flashers on? Not breaking the speed-on-light-kind-of driving, but rather 5 to 10 mph over the posted speed limit?
Answer: The only vehicles allowed to travel over the posted speed limit are emergency vehicles, i.e. police units, fire engines or ambulances. This applies even in emergencies. If your vehicle is not an authorized emergency vehicle, you will be in violation of state law if you travel over the posted speed limit transporting someone to the emergency room. With that said Mary, police officers are NOT without understanding. I’m more than sure if a police officer stops you or anyone for speeding and observes you have someone in your vehicle who is in need of emergency medical treatment, they will be more than accommodating to get you there in a safer and efficient manner like a police escort.
Mary, the flashers are hazard lamps, not EMERGENCY flashers. Motorists should not activate those lights in an event of an emergency. Motorists should ONLY activate the hazard lamps when they are traveling well under the posted speed limit to notify approaching vehicles your car is moving slowly.
David from Port Arthur asks: I’m a little perplexed about a recent encounter I’ve had with the police. I was traveling on the road and met two police cars going in the opposite direction. I must truthfully admit I noticed at that time I was going over the posted speed limit. But they didn’t stop me, and man, was I ever relieved because they had the right to turn around and write me a ticket. So what do I do? I conveniently set my cruise control that’s installed in my vehicle. But to my dismay I was pulled over a little further down the road by a different police officer. He told me he was informed by the first officer that I was speeding. He was a younger officer trying to make a name for himself. Now I was always told if the officer doesn’t catch you when you are speeding that we are off the hook, so to speak. Is this procedure or have I been bamboozled?
Answer: You actually bring up a valid complaint among many motorists. The police officer that observed the violation does NOT have to be the officer that stops your vehicle and issue a citation. When a police officer observes a violation, time is on the officer’s side as to when he shall issue the citation. In your case, that is routine operation within the law enforcement community. Officers often radio other officers and advise them what they observed. The other officer now has probable cause to stop said vehicle and issue a citation on the statement of another officer, even when the officer that issues the citation did NOT observe the motorist violating any law. Any law enforcement officer in the state of Texas has two years from the date they witnessed a class C misdemeanor to issue any person a citation. They can contact the appropriate court and have you subpoenaed to answer and complaint that could be a year old. So if you don’t violate the Texas Transportation Code, you have nothing to concern yourself about.
Janice from Port Arthur asks: I have two younger brothers, 23 and 19 years of age, that share the same vehicle. My younger brother always complains about his older brother leaving empty beer cans in the car, believing he’s gonna get in trouble if he gets stopped by the police. What should he do if he gets stopped by police with the empty beer cans in the car and he’s underage?
Answer: I will admit empty beer cans will rise suspicion with ANY police officer who happens to stop your underage brother driving a vehicle. But the key word here will be “EMPTY” beer cans. There’s no offense committed by your younger brother if the cans are empty, and there’s no indication the underage driver has partaken in any detectable amount of an alcoholic beverage. It might help your brothers especially the older one, if he/they would tidy up behind himself after parking the vehicle. Janice, I’d like to send a stern warning to the older brother about drinking and driving, or allowing alcoholic beverages to be consumed in his vehicle. Motorists who are under the influence of an alcoholic beverage make up at least one-third of our fatalities on the Texas roadway. He’s of age to consume alcoholic beverages in Texas, but there’s no age limit for LEGALLY drinking and driving on the roads of Texas.
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