ASK A COP — Can wrecked vehicle surrounded in baking wrap legally drive roadways?
Published 1:45 pm Monday, April 11, 2022
Mark from Groves asks: I saw a car that was apparently rear ended. I didn’t think the vehicle should be allowed to still be on the road, but I’m not the police. They wrapped like clear baking wrap around the trunk and lights of the car. I know everybody needs their transportation, but my mouth was open in disbelief at the sight of the condition of this vehicle on the roadway. Is it legal to drive a vehicle on the roadway in a wrecked condition as long as it still runs?
Answer: Now this is funny. Baking wrap! I don’t doubt your description of the vehicle one bit. The one question you must always ask yourself when you are in question about any vehicle being legally able to be driven on the roads of Texas: will this vehicle be able to pass the state inspection in that current condition? From what you described, this vehicle will NOT be able to pass state inspection. If that’s the case, then this vehicle is being operated illegally on the roads of Texas and should be parked until the necessary repairs are made.
Horace from Port Arthur asks: I have a question regarding the stopping distance behind a vehicle that is at a red traffic signal. As I’m constantly reminding my friends the rules of the road, we came to rest at a red light and she stopped almost six feet from the vehicle in front of her. Of course I told her that was too close. And as you can guess, she disagreed with me. I told her when I was learning how to drive many moons ago, my Grandpa would tell me to stop back enough so I could see the rear tires on the vehicle in front of me. Is stopping to see the wheels on the vehicle in front of me the law? If not, what is the law regarding stopping at a traffic signal?
Answer: This is one of those questions where there will be a multitude of answers. But the ONLY correct answer is there is NO LAW regarding the distance a vehicle has to be to another vehicle while both vehicles are not in motion. I understand it’s irritating and to some even frustrating to look in your rear view mirror and observe the vehicle only a couple of feet and in some cases several inches from your rear bumper. There have been reports of motorists actually exiting their vehicles and engaging in physical confrontations on the roads of this nation simply because, in their opinion, someone stopped too closely to their vehicle. No matter how much you don’t like it, it’s NOT illegal for them to be stopped closely to your vehicle. As long they don’t touch your vehicle and cause damage or injury, it’s not illegal. The advice your Grandpa gave you moons ago about being able to see the rear tire as an appropriate stopping distance is still good advice today. I don’t understand the need to stop closely to another vehicle at a traffic controlled signal/sign. It just makes good safe driving sense to stop a car length from the car in front of you. You never know what’s going to happen on the roadway, and you just may need that extra space.
Jimmy from Nederland asks: I need clarification on the law because my granddaughter wants to be like her friends and get out of her booster seat. I don’t want to risk her life or break a law. You have written a child should be 8 years old or 4’9″ tall. Not many 8 year olds are that tall, even so, should it be 8 years old and 4’9″ tall? My granddaughter is taller than most girls in her class at school (age 8-1/2) but she is only 4’5.” Can she sit without a booster based on what you have put in your column previously? Help me settle my nerves.
Answer: The state of Texas has joined the ranks with the national standard requiring a child be EITHER 8 years of age or 4-feet, 9-inches tall before the can sit in a motor vehicle WITHOUT a booster seat. Jimmy, you are correct! Height is a tall standard and rarely will you find a child under the age of 8 years old and 4-feet, 9-inches tall. Your granddaughter is 8 1/2 years old, so she is NOT required to sit in a booster seat by her age. Keep in mind, as a parent or guardian, you have the last say when the child comes out of the booster seat after they are 8 years of age. If the seat belt doesn’t fit them correctly because of their statue, it’s all about their safety not fashion or peers.
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