ASK A COP — Clarify the height, age rules for child booster seats

Published 12:08 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Kenny from Orange asks: A month ago I sent you an email asking about child booster seats. I really need clarification on the law because my granddaughter wants to be like her friends and get out of her booster seat, but 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 he 8 years old and 4’9″ tall? My granddaughter is taller than most girls in her class at school (age 8-1/2) but is only 4’5.” Can she sit without a booster based on what you have put in your column previously?

Answer: The state of Texas joined the ranks with of the national standard requiring a child be EITHER 8 years of age or 4-feet, 9-inches tall before sitting in a motor vehicle WITHOUT a booster seat. You are correct that height is a tall standard. Rarely will you find a child under 8 years old who is 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 that it is you, as a parent or guardian, who has 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 stature, it’s all about their safety, not fashion or peers.

Officer Rickey Antoine

Tasha from Beaumont asks: Is there a maximum number of persons who can sit in the front seat of a motor vehicle? We were going to a party, and four people piled in the front seat. My cousin told me that was too many people in the front seat, and we should have been stopped and given a ticket. If this is true, who would get the ticket, the driver or the passengers?

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Answer: When the front seat passengers, including the driver, exceeds 3 persons in a motor vehicle, the state of Texas says the driver’s view to the front and sides of the vehicle can NOT be obstructed. In this case, the driver would receive the citation if the officer so elected to cite someone for driver obstruction. It may also be worth noting there will only be seat belt position for three people, and as long as ALL seating positions in the vehicle are secured by a safety belt, a fourth passenger can sit in the front seat without being secured by a safety belt, as long as the driver’s vision is not obstructed.

Axon from Port Arthur asks: How dark can the back windows be on my truck, and how would you know if it is too dark?

Answer: The state of Texas allows maximum of 25 percent light transparency of tint on the front driver and front passenger windows. The state of Texas also allows motorists to tint the rest of the windows as DARK as they can stand it down to 0 percent light transparency. That’s almost like trying to look in a microwave that’s not on. I don’t agree with this due to the safety of the police officers and the limited vision of the driver, but I only enforce and abide by the law. I don’t make them. So as long as your tint is in compliance with the AS1 line and the front driver and front passenger windows, you can have your tint at whatever percent of light transparency you want.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW, Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington and Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station every Tuesday for at least two hours from 1 to 3 p.m. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in and ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Feel free to email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a voicemail 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 feel comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop!”