ASK A COP — What is the procedure for motorists stuck behind malfunctioning railroad arms?

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Carlos from Port Arthur asks: What is the procedure for a railroad arm that’s stuck down with its light flashing for an extended period of time? If there is no train in sight, what are drivers to do? It makes no sense to just sit at a place where the lights are obviously malfunctioning.

Answer: When you are stopped at a railroad crossing where the arms are malfunctioning, red lights flashing and clearly no train in sight, you simply “WAIT.” Or you can elect to turn around and go the other direction. If you see someone go between the railroad’s arms, that doesn’t mean follow the leader. If law enforcement is in the area, you just may be the violator they see crossing. Every three hours someone is involved in a train crash in this country. In 2022, 274 people were needlessly killed and 777 injured in the U.S because drivers failed to take the railroad warning seriously. This prompted the slogan “STOP BECAUSE TRAINS CAN’T! ” The next time you happen to be in line at a railroad crossing, you are free to turn around and go around the intersection. Just don’t go around the arms! Matter of fact, if you see a railroad crossing arms down but there’s not a train in sight, you should consider that road CLOSED.

Francis from Nederland asks: I was driving in Port Arthur and several police vehicles had the lanes of travel for my direction blocked. We didn’t really know what to do, so we went around the police cars. So of course we were stopped by an officer asking what are we were doing. He made us turn around a go the opposite way that I need to go. What are we as drivers supposed to do if the road is blocked by police cars and the other side of the street is clear?

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Answer: Police officers who have an area blocked off with marked police units with flashing lights means ALL drivers should immediately start to make a U-turn and proceed in the opposite direction unless you are beckoned by a police officer to proceed. By driving through police scenes, you could have easily compromised the integrity of a crash or crime scene. Too often motorists become fixated on what police are doing and who’s be attended, to the degree that we have to divert our attention from the scene to attend to a bypasser or bystanders who have absolutely nothing to do with the scene. It’s even illegal in the state of Texas to drive around a police barricade without prior authorization of a police officer. Next time if police units have your direction of travel blocked, simply make a U-turn when it’s safe and proceed in the opposite direction.

Ken from Port Arthur asks: I recently received my disabled veteran license plate. It doesn’t have a wheelchair symbol on it and I need to know if these plates will allow me to park in the normal handicap parking spots. I’m afforded access to toll roads for free.

Answer: Before Jan. 1st 2022, anyone issued disabled veterans license plates in the state of Texas they WERE afforded all parking privileges of the non veterans disabled placard or plates are allowed. Today, Texans who are disabled service members are no longer afforded disabled parking privileges. If there’s anyone who desires to obtain disabled parking privileges, they must apply for the placard with the state of Texas. The state also provides a waiver of fees for driver’s license and plates for service members who experienced disabled service-related disability rating of 60 percent or greater. Texas also provides free parking at parking meters to disabled veterans. Such plates need not show the international accessibility symbol.

Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”