ASK A COP – Can a wrecked vehicle wrapped in parchment paper legally drive on the roads? – Port Arthur News

Mark de Groves asks: I saw a car that was apparently in the back. I didn’t think the vehicle should be allowed to be on the road again, but I’m not the police. They wrapped themselves like transparent baking paper around the car’s trunk and headlights. I know everyone needs transportation, but my mouth dropped open in disbelief at the condition of this vehicle on the road. Is it legal to drive a vehicle on the roadway in a rough condition while it is still driving?

To respond: Now that’s funny. Cooking movie! I don’t doubt your description of the vehicle at all. The one question you should always ask yourself when considering the legal ability to drive a vehicle on Texas roads: will this vehicle be able to pass state inspection in its current state? From what you have described, this vehicle will NOT be able to pass state inspection. If so, then this vehicle is being driven illegally on Texas roads and should be parked until necessary repairs are made.

Horace of Port Arthur asks: I have a question regarding the stopping distance behind a vehicle that is at a red light. As I constantly remind my friends of the rules of the road, we stopped at a red light and she stopped almost two meters from the vehicle in front of her. Of course, I told him it was too close. And as you can guess, she disagreed with me. I told him that when I was learning to drive many moons ago, my grandfather used to tell me to stop long enough that I could see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of me. Is it the law to stop to see the wheels of the vehicle in front of me? If not, what is the law regarding stopping at a traffic light?

To respond: This is one of those questions where there will be a multitude of answers. But the ONLY correct answer is that there is NO LAW as to how close a vehicle must be to another vehicle when both vehicles are not in motion. I understand that it is irritating and even frustrating for some to look in your rear view mirror and observe the vehicle only a few feet and in some cases several inches from your rear bumper. There have been reports of motorists exiting their vehicles and engaging in physical confrontations on the roads of this country simply because they believe someone has stopped too close to their vehicle. No matter how much you don’t like it, it is NOT illegal for them to be pulled over near your vehicle. As long as they don’t hit your vehicle and cause damage or injury, it’s not illegal. The advice your grandfather gave you moons ago about seeing the rear tire as an appropriate stopping distance is still sound advice today. I don’t understand the need to stop next to another vehicle at a traffic control signal/sign. It just makes sense to drive safely to stop a car length from the car in front of you. You never know what’s going to happen on the pavement and you may need that extra space.

Jimmy from Nederland asks: I need clarification on the law because my granddaughter wants to be like her friends and get out of her booster seat. I don’t want to risk his life or break any law. You wrote that a child must be 8 years old or 4’9″. Few 8-year-olds are that tall, though, should he be 8 and 4’9″? My granddaughter is taller than most girls in her class at school (8½) but she is only 4’5. Can she sit without a boost based on what you put in your column previously? Help me calm my nerves.

To respond: The State of Texas has joined ranks with the national standard requiring a child to be 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall before they can sit in a motor vehicle WITHOUT a booster seat. Jimmy, you’re right! Height is a high standard and you will rarely find a child under 8 and 4ft 9in tall. Your granddaughter is 8.5 years old, so she is NOT required to sit in a booster seat at her age. Remember that as a parent or guardian, you have the final say when a child gets out of the booster seat after age 8. If the seatbelt doesn’t fit them properly because of their stature, it’s a matter of safety, not fashion or peers.

Join me, Officer Rickey Antoine & CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Moorin Star for Ask A Cop LIVE, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Station radio Breeze, every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. as Officer Antoine discusses the “Ask A Cop” article. Tune in via the internet at or ask a question live at 409-982-0247. Leave a comment via TEXT at 409-748-6106. Remember to email your questions to [email protected], call 409-983-8673 for voicemail, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you see me in public, you can always approach me and “Ask a cop!”