ASK A COP: Do you really understand the texting law?

Published 11:39 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Chris from Beaumont asks:  I thought Texas had a no texting law in place that prohibits drivers of these cars from texting while behind the wheel. It seems like every day, especially at red lights, people’s heads are buried in those darn phones. It’s almost like Texas doesn’t have a law addressing such behavior! In my opinion, texting and driving is out of control. Texas needs to install cameras at red lights to catch these drivers messing with their cellphones while stopped at the light. Do you agree?

Answer: Good Question Chris! I can understand your frustration about drivers’ inattentiveness behind the wheel on the roads of Texas. Distracted driving is no joke and every effort by lawmakers and law enforcement agencies across the state of Texas should make every effort to address this issue. The safety of all motorists on our roadway is paramount and adding the cellphone distractions only compromises our safety goal. But I believe you are lacking understanding about the Texas texting law. While you are correct, texting while driving is a violation in Texas, the same law allows for motorists to text at red lights while the vehicle is not in motion. I’m not in agreement with allowing texting while the vehicle is on a roadway, but I only enforce laws. So, Chris, the next time you’re at a traffic signal and you look over and someone has their head buried in their cellphone, remember they’re NOT breaking the texting law in Texas.

Heather from Port Arthur asks: I’m planning to go to Louisiana with my granddaughter and she has a valid learner’s permit issued in Texas. Will she be allowed to operate a motor vehicle with her permit while we’re in Louisiana?

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Answer: Good question Heather! It is true that once you are licensed in ANY state in the United States of America, you are privileged to operate a motor vehicle in ALL states in this great nation. On the other hand, learner’s permits are not viewed the same. Most states will allow a learning driver to operate in their state legally as long as they follow the restrictions given by the issuing state. Your granddaughter is welcomed by the state of Louisiana to drive on its roads as long as she abides by its laws and has a licensed operator in the front seat over the age of 21. I’m grateful you sought information because every state is not so kind to learning out of state drivers with permits. Here’s a list of states that will NOT allow learning drivers: Arizona, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

Karen from Groves asks: I have a question about the motorized wheelchair users on the roadway. My sister was driving when saw a woman in a motorized wheelchair on the roadway and is shaken up, knowing if her attention had been diverted away from the road for a moment, she could have hit the lady in the wheelchair. My sister is concerned about the charges someone may face if they hit a person in a motorized wheelchair. What is the charge for hitting someone in a motorized wheelchair?

Answer: Good Question Karen! I breathed a sigh of relief as you described the near crash between your sister’s vehicle and the motorized wheelchair. The motorized wheelchairs have liberated many disabled persons who were bound in their homes, but along with that liberation came tragedy. Persons who were given or purchased the motorized wheelchairs are apparently NOT given the law when operating the chair. In the state of Texas, any person operating a motorized wheelchair is considered a pedestrian, meaning all the laws set forth for pedestrians apply to motorized wheelchair operators (i.e. if there’s a sidewalk, you must be on the sidewalk or when on the road, you MUST travel against the flow of traffic). There’s no automatic charge for a driver involved in a crash with a motorized wheelchair. The police officer on the scene will determine that at the conclusion of his investigation.

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 radio station, every Tuesday for at least 2hrsfrom 1p-3p and beyond. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article that’s printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet at Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Feel free to email your questions, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a 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 free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop”!