ASK A COP — Memorial Day sacrifices will always be remembered
From the desk of Chief of Police Tim Duriso: As this nation celebrates Memorial Day, all the hard working employees of the Port Arthur Police Department and I would like to take a moment to salute and say “Thank You” to honor all of the fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice (their life) for this country.
Although during this Pandemic Covid-19 we aren’t gathering as much as we are accustomed to for this holiday, but that doesn’t stop our hearts from being forever grateful to our fallen soldiers of our armed forces because of their ultimate sacrifice we are enjoying our liberty today.
As we celebrate I’d encourage everyone to do so safely and remember to continue to practice social distancing.
Betty from Port Arthur Asks: I am baffled to say the least about a law or the lack of enforcement of the law. Officer Antoine, you gave me a seatbelt ticket several years ago and I paid it because I was wrong, but I want to know why police officers aren’t doing anything about those who ride motorcycles without a helmet? If I have to wear a seatbelt in my vehicle, why aren’t you making motorcycle drivers wear a helmet?
Answer: There’s a good reason why you may see several motorcyclists without a helmet, and it’s because helmets are a secondary law, while seatbelts are a primary law in Texas. In the state of Texas, a police officer can NOT stop a motorcyclist solely for the purpose of not wearing a helmet because it’s a secondary law. If the motorcyclist is speeding, a police officer can stop the motorcyclist for speeding then address the helmet issue. Motorcyclists are exempt from wearing a helmet if they can present a certificate proving they have successfully completed a motorcycle safety-driving course or they can present a current health insurance card during the stop. Unlike motorcycles, seatbelt usage is primary law in Texas. Any officer that observes any occupants inside a motor vehicle not wearing or not properly wearing their seatbelt can stop that vehicle.
Gail from Groves Asks: Officer Antoine I’ve been wondering about someone driving while sitting on their left leg. This seems to be very comfortable because many people, especially women, will sit like this in a chair. Is it illegal to drive while sitting with your left leg bent under your right leg or bottom?
Answer: There’s no law in Texas that prohibits drivers from having their left legs folded under their bottom while driving. Most don’t use their left leg to drive unless you are driving a standard transmission vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle, where you need your left leg to apply the clutch to switch gears. How uncomfortable that would be for me, Gail I believe I would need a tow truck to pull me out of the driver’s seat if I drive for an extended period of time (laughing)! But rest assured that at the present moment there is no law banning driving a motor vehicle in Texas with your left leg under your bottom or right leg.
Arthur from Port Arthur Asks: The other day I witnessed two people who had a minor fender bender, and they were on a very congested road in Port Arthur, Highway 365, in a major lane of travel. It was obvious what happened, the back vehicle tapped the rear of the front vehicle. .End of story, right? But they had traffic backed up forever. Could they have moved the vehicles, or are you supposed to leave your vehicles if you are involved in a crash?
Answer: Always call the police when an injury or worse has occurred, and the vehicles cannot be moved. According to the state of Texas, if you are in a collision and no one is hurt, you don’t have to wait for the police before moving your vehicle. If you can drive the vehicle, the law requires you to move it out of the lane of traffic. Giving the scene you described, the two motorists were more than welcome to move their vehicles to free up the congestion of traffic on FM 365. We all know how congested that road can be without a crash. So, YES, if possible, vehicles involved in a crash can be moved out of the lane of travel.
Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. Listen as Officer Rickey Antoine discusses the Ask A Cop article. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Ask a question at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 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!