ASK A COP — Can you be ticketed for improper carseat securing?

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, November 22, 2023

From the desk of the Chief of Police Tim Duriso: On behalf of all of the hard working men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department, we want to extend a Happy Thanksgiving blessing to the citizens of Port Arthur and surrounding communities on this wonderful holiday. I hope all are able to bond with family and friends and come together and enjoy a peaceful Thanksgiving weekend and some good food!

Gay from Port Arthur asks: My daughter reminded me of a ticket she received from you about a 4 years  ago, I remember she came home upset because YOU stopped her and issued a ticket for “no child safety seat charge.” She, as well as I, is still perplexed as to why the ticket was given. My then 2-year-old granddaughter was strapped in the seat facing toward the front, and the car seat was strapped to the vehicle seat. She said you could see the handle sticking up on the child seat, and that was the primary reason for her being stopped. Can you clear up this misunderstanding? She already paid the ticket. We just want a better understanding as to why?

Answer: The answer is simple: IMPROPER INSTALLATION CAN LEAD TO CITATION. The ONLY child safety seats that have a handle attached to it is an infant seat, and during the movement of a vehicle, the handle MUST be down. If the handle is NOT folded down during the movement on a roadway in Texas, ANY officer can issue the operator of the vehicle a citation, even if the seat and infant are correctly secured. Secondly, what I read you saying was the infant seat was facing forward, which is WRONG! An infant seat is ONLY designed to face backwards in ANY vehicle. If you face the infant seat forward, like your daughter did, that is a violation and that’s why I issued her a citation. Do it seem kinda harsh and unfair, well maybe.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Before you and any reader judge too quickly, may I ask you, have you EVER witnessed first hand a baby or child smashed, drowned, broken or dismembered because a parent FAILED to PROPERLY secure their babies while operating a motor vehicle that was involved in a crash?

Well I have, as well as many other police officers, witnessed these horrific scenes to innocent children. That’s just like an adult who places the shoulder strap under their armpit because it rubs on their neck. WRONG … if you are not secured in the seat correctly, you can receive a citation as though you don’t have the belt on at all. There are no charges for improper child seat installation in the Texas Transportation Code. If you don’t secure them right, the law supports that you didn’t secure them at all.

Patricia from Port Neches asks: We have plans to visit family in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I was wondering is this Thanksgiving holiday a dangerous driving holiday, where many people die on the roads?

Answer: I would say the most traveled period of the year is during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Any time there is an increased number of motorists on the road, the chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash or fatality goes up. Thanksgiving is not a major alcohol consumption holiday, but we still must factor in motorists driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, with the popularity of cell phones and their use while operating a motor vehicle, “YES” this is a dangerous driving holiday. I caution you to always properly wear your safety belts, obey speed laws, don’t travel too close, use your turn indicators, don’t disregard a stop sign or red light and lastly know it’s a lengthy trip, but don’t allow the driver to become engaged in conversations while operating a motor vehicle. The driver needs to have his/her conscious mind on the road, not conversing with another passenger. I hope you and your family all have a safe and memorable trip to Dallas.

Peanut from Groves asks: My question is that as I speak to you, my license is suspended. I may have a bad driving record, but my work history is impeccable. I need to go to work. Is there something I can do? I need to drive.

Answer: You can start by staying away from the driver’s seat. Your license is a privilege, not your right. If the state has your license currently under suspension, I’m sorry, you canNOT drive! You will need to contact the state to see if there are any fees that you owe in order for the suspension to be lifted. The other option is to apply for an occupational license. This will allow you to travel from home to work and back from work to home.

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!”