ASK A COP — How far is too far for spokes sticking out from the rim

Published 12:44 pm Monday, March 14, 2022

L.A. from Port Arthur asks: I recently was on a highway in Beaumont where I happened upon a passenger vehicle with huge rims sticking out from the wheels. Now I’m accustomed to seeing wheels with spokes sticking out from the rim, but THIS particular vehicle was ridiculous. The spokes seemed to stick out almost two feet from the wheel. I’m not so caught on the look but the safety issue this poses on our motoring, bicycling and pedestrian community. What is the law on such spokes on vehicles in Texas?

Answer: I’ve often said that vehicles are an extension of the driver’s personality. I remember being a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, when this type of wheel was created in 1983/1984 for Cadillac vehicles (ONLY) and they were the talk of the town and originally called Voges. Keep in mind the spokes are much larger than the original makes for the Cadillac. Today they are made for any vehicle. They (swangas) went out of style, and several years ago a California company started reproducing again calling the Swangas! L.A., there’s no legislation in the state of Texas addressing or outlawing such wheels on our vehicles. What is illegal in Texas is overall width of vehicles and that maximum number is 8 feet, if the tip of the left rim to the tip of the right rim measures over 8 feet apart then that motorist is operating that vehicle in violation of Texas Transportation Code. L.A., thanks for the submission of said vehicle and I easily concur with you that the vehicle is clearly over 8 feet wide and pose a safety hazard on the roadways. With these swangas wheels, this driver is clearly “Doing Too Much”. Officers generally won’t be able to confirm this is a violation until said vehicle is measured!

Dwight from Port Arthur asks: I saw a vehicle with hand written license plates that were displayed on the rear of motor vehicle. Let me make this plain, the car had a license plate with a white cut cardboard with magic marker hand written characters for a license plate. Officer Is this legal in Texas to manufacture a handwritten license plate in Texas?

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Answer: After viewing this photo, I’m in TOTAL disbelief that someone will even believe that a handwritten license plate is legal. This behavior is totally ILLEGAL in the state of Texas. Even if the characters on the makeshift plate are correct for this vehicle, the state of Texas doesn’t allow motorists to make their own plates. I’m aware things happen, i.e. plates and damages or stolen, but we can NOT ursurp over the state of Texas and do whatever is convenient on the roadways of Texas. If anyone is in need of license plates, they should visit their local Department of Motor Vehicles. If there’s a problem with the registration or title and you’re unable to get plates. “DO NOT OPERATE THE VEHICLE.”

Percy from Port Neches asks: Is there a grace period for the insurance expiration date that’s on the insurance card? I work a lot of hours and often get behind on renewing things I know I should.

Answer: There is NO GRACE period for expired insurance cards. A common mistake I observe with motorists is they don’t realize the end day printed on their insurance card expires at midnight. So, if your insurance card expires on 3/15/22, your card became invalid as soon as it turned 3/15 12 a.m., not at 11:59 p.m. Now your insurance company may look at it differently, but law enforcement officers have an option to issue a citation, or to remind motorists of their expired insurance card. But with technology today, if you have a smartphone, you can always have an updated insurance card accessible to you to present to any law enforcement officer that inquires.

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!”