ASK A COP — Does a crossing guard overrule a stop sign?

Published 1:58 pm Monday, December 20, 2021

Greetings from Chief of Police Tim Duriso and ALL of the hard-working men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department. We hope this Christmas will be a memorable time to gather with family and friends to embrace and love one another.

Please drive safe. If you plan to party with adult beverages, plan your safe transportation as well.

While shopping, be aware of your surroundings, don’t place packages on seats and don’t carry large amounts of cash. Ladies, don’t carry a purse by hand. If possible, carry on your shoulder or across your body. Have your keys in you hand exiting business. Park in well-lighted areas. Lastly, don’t allow ANY strangers to approach you!

Travis from Port Arthur asks: Every morning I pass an intersection monitored by a school crossing guard. Most of the time I stop and wait for him to signal for me to go, but occasionally before I can even stop at the stop sign, I’m being signaled to continue through the intersection. Who is the ultimate authority in that situation – the stop sign or crossing guard?

Answer: School crossing guards play a major part in the safe crossing of our children during school hours. We would hate to imagine what would happen in their absence. As well intentioned as crossing guards may seem, they don NOT have the authority to override a traffic control device nor are they there to direct traffic. School crossing guards are there for the safety of crossing our precious children across safely. Keep in mind they hold a STOP SIGN in their hands while they’re crossing our children, so we MUST obey that sign until it’s lowered by the crossing guard. So, Travis, don’t allow anyone to cause you to disregard a stop sign.

Darryl from Groves asks: I was watching the court TV show where there are three judges, and they said the driver is responsible for all passengers in their vehicle being seatbelted. I have an adult friend that rides in the back seat often and I’m always on his butt about, buckling his seatbelt. I don’t want to get a ticket for his negligence. Can I get a ticket for my passenger refusing to put on his seatbelt?

Answer: I believe that show is taped in California and whatever state the complainant and defendant were from that you were watching, couldn’t have been the great state of Texas. Operating or being a passenger of a motor vehicle is a primary law, meaning law enforcement officers can stop you solely on the fact that someone in the vehicle is not belted. Contrary to the answer that was given by the court TV judges, in Texas things are done differently. Drivers in Texas are only responsible for seatbelt usage for passengers 14 years of age and younger. So your adult friend is on his own. Now, Darryl, don’t let this information relax you from ensuring every occupant of your vehicle is properly secured by a safety belt while on the roadway. Unbuckled passengers are a threat to other buckled occupants in the vehicle during the unfortunate event of a crash. Be aware that upwards of 60% of all traffic fatalities on the roadway during the police investigation are found that individuals are unbuckled. Keep fussing and make an announcement to all in the vehicle that “THIS CAR WILL NOT BE MOVING UNTIL EVERYONE IS BUCKLED!”

Davis from Port Arthur asks: I was recently involved in a accident, and my driver and passenger air bags were activated. Am I still allowed to drive my vehicle even though my bags are hanging out of the steering wheel and passenger dashboard? It’s my only vehicle, I don’t have any other means for transportation and I need it to get to work. I only have liability insurance, so my insurance company will not repair my vehicle, and according to my checking account neither can I. Can I operate my vehicle legally without working airbags?

Answer: I’m sorry for your recent unfortunate crash/accident. As we all know crashes don’t only have not physical injuries, but financial burdens attached along with them as well. That’s why it is always a smart and responsible, LEGAL decision to have at least the state minimum liability insurance coverage on ANY automobile on the roads of Texas. Because most motorists like myself, can’t afford to fix someone’s vehicle and their own vehicle in the unfortunate event of a crash. Airbags are NOT an annually inspected item in the state of Texas, so in my opinion YES you can operate your vehicle in the state of Texas as long as the HORN works. Insurance companies may have an issue with the airbags deployment, but in your case you only have liability so it probably wouldn’t matter. I would advise you to check with your insurance agent to assure there’s no problem there.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW: Stephen Buzzard Boots Mosley, Lelo mouth of Hwy 69/73 Washington and Tejas Lil Man Morning Star for Ask A Cop live,on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as they discuss the “Ask A Cop” column. Call in your question live at 409-982-0247 or make a text comment at 409-748-6106. Email your questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a voice mail or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”