ASK A COP — Can passengers legally ride in the trunk?

Published 1:47 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

Craig from Winnie asks: Several of my friends were having a good time a couple of weekends ago and we all decided to go to the store just a few blocks away. We crowded into one car, but there just wasn’t enough room for the remaining two friends left, so they opened up the trunk, took out the spare tire and other items, and sat in the trunk. Of course I’m sure by the last statement you can tell we had been drinking (all of legal age, over 21). At this point no one in my opinion was intoxicated. When we all get together we just do silly boneheaded male stuff. Now everybody found humor in this because we are all clowns, even me. Now my question to you, is it illegal to ride in the trunk of a car?

Answer: I can imagine the fun you guys were having hanging out with each other enjoying alcoholic beverages. Mixing a motor vehicle with the consumption of alcoholic beverages ALWAYS sends up RED flags. The consumption of alcohol is a great deceiver, and once you have finished your first drink you are impaired. IMPAIRMENT starts after the first drink. You may not be intoxicated, according to the state of Texas’ standard, but you are definitely NOT 100 percent SOBER! We take uncalculated and dumb risks once we are under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. If all of the passenger seats were occupied, there is NOTHING that addresses riding in the trunk of a car being illegal in Texas. Of the “I don’t know what I was thinking” decisions, it’s somewhere around 9.3 out of a possible 10 scale. Although this may not be illegal, it’s 100 percent NOT SAFE and the wisest decision a human can make. The next time you guys decide to get together, don’t allow this behavior of riding in the trunk of a car to continue.

Max from Lumberton asks: I have a co-worker that’s a “pack rat.” He has so much stuff in the passenger compartment of his pickup truck that there is hardly room for anyone but him to ride in his truck. I don’t think this is a very safe practice to have so many items in his truck, especially since the back window is covered. Is it illegal to have your vehicle stuffed so much that you can’t see out of the back window?

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Answer: There are many people who literally live out of their vehicles and ride around with all of their earthly possessions with them. This can also pose a hazard in our vehicles in one way or another. I understand your concern about the safety of your friend being able to see out of the rear window of his truck. But state law will allow blockage of the rear view window, as long as the driver is able to see out of either the passenger or driver side view mirror. The back window can be blocked without being illegal in Texas. Now with all the extra items in the vehicle, that’s another story.

Jacob from Port Arthur asks: I understand an emergency vehicle is a police vehicle, fire truck and ambulance. But I often see these fire department vehicles that are not a fire truck or ambulance sport utility vehicles that are NOT an ambulance. They have lights on while speeding on the roads at times running red lights. How are they able to do this legally?

Answer: Those fire department and emergency medical service vehicles are considered emergency vehicles, as they are equipped with lights and sirens. These sport utility vehicles will normally be driven by supervisors with advanced life saving skills, as well. They’re not the cleaning crew (smile)!

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the crew of 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 from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in via the Internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail or mail them to 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”