ASK A COP — Port Arthur Police update the public on school safety rules to follow on the roads

Published 1:43 pm Monday, August 8, 2022

Are You Ready? It is time for our local school districts first day for students to return to school from Summer break. The first day in Port Arthur will be Wednesday (Aug. 10). We need to adjust our driving behavior in the early mornings and evenings and start preparing, leaving for your daily journey earlier, because our roads will be experiencing a higher number of vehicles on the roadway due to school traffic. Let’s make this the safest school year ever for our children to be transported to and from school. Remember, if you leave late expect to arrive late

KB from Port Arthur asks: My understanding of a stopped school bus letting off children is you should not stop on a divided highway if you are passing in the opposite direction. Is a four-lane with a middle turning lane considered a divided highway?

Answer: It’s that time of year, and SCHOOL BUSES will be running and STOPPING on our roads. As I write these words, there will be many who disobey the law in Texas regarding a stopped School Bus with flashing RED warning lights. That will unfortunately be a decision that will cost them a minimum of $500 and up to $1,250 if they are found guilty in a court of law. The law regarding the separate roadway ONLY applies if there is a physical barrier that separates the two directions of travel, or something that clearly indicates the dividing sections constructed to impede vehicular traffic. A highway is NOT considered divided no matter how many lanes there are on it if there is only a center left turn lane.

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Gunner from Groves asks: If the lights are out in the school zone during school zone time, are we required by law to abide by the speed sign on the school zone signal that’s NOT functioning?

Answer: This is a question that I’m bombarded with all the time regarding the flashing school zone lights out in a school zone. Every school zone that’s equipped with warning school zone flasher lights WILL ALSO have the posted times of the school zone on the sign, as well. The State of Texas requires the times be posted notifying ALL motorists the times that the school zone is active, because just as sure as we live the school zone, flashers will malfunction. There have been times that the school zone lights are flashing at 6 p.m., but the times of the school zone ended at 4 p.m. Are you to abide the flashing school zone lights when the posted time ended at 4 p.m.? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I’ve observed school zone lights flashing on the weekends, so with that said, the POSTED SIGNS trump the flashing light. Pay attention to the SIGN, because the sign is the law, NOT the flashing caution lights!

Fieora from Nederland asks: My cousin said he was written a ticket recently for yelling out curse words from his vehicle. I don’t believe you can be written a ticket for cursing. What ever happened to “freedom of speech?” Can a police officer issue a ticket someone for cursing at a police officer?

Answer: In the state of Texas, Penal Code Sec. 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: (1) uses abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance, tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace; using vulgar or obscene language in a public place is ILLEGAL! It is titled “Disorderly Conduct by language.” So any word we know to be a curse word is off limits verbally or by gesture in public in the great state of Texas. Using the excuse that I’m grown or I have the freedom of speech will NOT fly in Texas. Now here is the tricky part, you also asked about cursing at a police officer! Police officers in the state of Texas are NOT supposed to be offended by language (whatever that is supposed to mean). By the way, this is NOT something you should test the water. I believe we are all adults with a broad enough vocabulary that we can use other words that can be just as effective to get our point across.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW: Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Moorin Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. as we discuss in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article. You can also tune in via ksapthebreeze.org. Ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Now you can make a comment or ask via TEXT 409-748-6106. Remember to email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail question 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!”