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ASK A COP: Never legal to use fireworks in city limits

Marty from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I love my country and annually we celebrate America’s Independence on the 4th of July. What I don’t like is all the fireworks that are popped by my house! As I look out of my window, I can see kids running up and down the street with lit fireworks in their hands. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see people happy and celebrating, but I’m no longer 20 years of age and the sound of fireworks popping near my house is no longer a joy, it is truly disturbing to me. My question is, how many days after the 4th of July can someone pop fireworks before it is illegal?
Answer: Good question, Marty! Here’s some relief for you, Marty: it is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER legal to ignite fireworks within the city limits of Port Arthur. It is also illegal to possess fireworks within the city limits of Port Arthur. You cannot have fireworks inside your home, car, or business within the city limits of Port Arthur. Did I hear fireworks on the 4th of July? Yes I did, along with everybody else who is a resident of this city. Marty, it’s kind of like the speed limit sign. Most drivers see and know what the speed limit is, they just fail or refuse to obey it. Most people know that popping fireworks is illegal within the city limits of Port Arthur, but they do it anyway.
My mom always told me “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt!” Driving fast is all fun and cool until you get a citation or someone gets hurt or even killed because of the speeding. Igniting fireworks is all fun and exciting until someone winds up in the emergency room with severe burns or damaged eyes, or someone’s home/property is burned/damaged because of fireworks. Just thinking of all the inexperienced, untrained people running around igniting these fireworks is a chilling thought. Even the best professional pyrotechnics experience difficulty when dealing with fireworks. It’s an interesting thought to know that these same parents who would not allow their children to cook on the stove, will place in their hands fireworks and allow them to ignite this fiery item. Marty, contact Port Arthur Police Department if your neighbors are still popping fireworks, because they (fireworks) are never legal to possess or ignite in the city of Port Arthur.
Yolanda from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, if I am traveling down Twin City Highway and wanting to enter a turning lane, I always wait until there is a break in the yellow line until I enter the turning lane. But sometimes as I get ready to get into the turning lane, someone behind me is already traveling in the turning lane behind me, making it difficult and sometimes dangerous for me to change lanes. My question is, I thought the middle lane was for turning not driving and if I am involved in a wreck because someone is driving down the middle lane would I be in the wrong or would the vehicle traveling down the middle lane?
Answer: Good question, Yolanda! I can tell you that this is a violation that gives me goose bumps. I can always imagine in my mind some innocent motorist driving according to the laws regarding the Texas Transportation Code and then you have this motorist who thinks that the middle lane is for turning and for driving or acceleration. Yolanda, it will take the investigative officer on scene to determine who’s at fault in this particular crash, because believe it or not, BOTH of you could be at fault. You could be at fault because you failed to change lanes when it was safe, and the other driver for driving or accelerating in the turning lane. So Yolanda, even though both could be at fault for the crash, “two wrongs don’t make a right!” Never change lanes until it is safe to do so. Thanks for being the safer/wiser driver.
Grace from Bridge City asks: Officer Antoine, I always enjoy reading your answers for “Ask A Cop.” I’ve been driving for 50 plus years and I can truly say I’ve learned so much from you. There was a saying I always heard my Grandpa say when I was a kid, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” If Grandpa was living today I’d have to tell him, “Yes, you can because you have taught me a thing or two that I had no clue that I was doing wrong, or it was even illegal.” I’ve asked several people this question and I can’t seem to get a straight answer. I know we are going to the one sticker program in Texas now. My inspection sticker has been expired since May of 2015. Can I take the expired sticker off or do I leave it there until I have to register my vehicle in February of 2016?
Answer: Good question, Grace! It always makes me smile to know this article is enriching the knowledge of legal motorists in our community. I look forward to motorists who come shake my hand and say “Thanks for the column, I’m learning so much!” Grace, if you desire you can remove the expired inspection sticker from your window and discard it, or you can leave it there and wait until you have your vehicle inspected before February. At this point Grace, you can allow the inspection station to remove it. Most people don’t want to ride and always look at an expired inspection sticker so they will remove it themselves before the inspection is due.
Join Officer Antoine for “Ask A Cop” live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday for 1 hour from 1p-2p. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247.
Remember to email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com, or call 409-984-8541 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 “Ask A Cop!”

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