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ASK A COP — Is it OK to drive 5 mph over the speed limit?

Carol from Port Neches asks: My grandson attended your driving class at a local driving school before COVID-19 invaded our area, and he said he learned that what I taught him that drivers had the right to go 5 mph over the speed limit was NOT TRUE. I want to abide by the law and do what’s right because I don’t want to injure anyone by disobeying the law or get a ticket. Was I given bad information many years ago and have now been taught a thing or two by my 18-year-old grandson?

Answer: It never fails to make me smile every time one of the students in my local driving class go home and enlighten driving laws to the experienced drivers in their families. There are many myths and folklores about the Texas Transportation Code that have been passed down from generation to generation that are NOT legal on our roads. You are never allowed to travel above the sign, because the speed limit sign is the MAXIMUM SPEED limit, not a suggestion. Any speed above the maximum posted speed limit could result in being stopped and cited for the violation of speeding, even if it’s just 5 mph over the posted speed limit. Remember, every time you exceed the speed limit sign, you chance being stopped and issued a citation. Speed limit signs are NOT a suggestion…it’s the LAW!!!

James from Port Arthur asks: I have been driving for 68 years and you’d think by now I would know almost everything, but recently I got a ticket for changing lanes in a school zone. I was not speeding. I was in the lane that was going to turn left to go to school. I moved over to the right so I could go straight. We were all obeying the 20 mph speed limit in the school zone. Immediately, a police officer turned on his lights. The officer proceeded to tell me it was against the law to change lanes in a school zone. That was a law I knew nothing about. I is it against the law to change lanes in a school zone? Of course I was in Groves on 39th Street, which is a street I refuse to ever travel again.

Answer: There’s no law in the Texas Transportation Code that says you can’t change lanes in a school zone, but that doesn’t mean that’s not the case in that particular school zone in Groves. I can’t comment on that school zone because I’m unfamiliar with it, but I’d encourage you to go back and check for signs prohibiting lane changing in that zone.

Judy from Houston asks: I was born and raised in Port Arthur and later moved to Houston. I was stopped recently, and the police officer said I was speeding. I wasn’t familiar with the area, but I didn’t think I was speeding. So he wrote me a ticket that said I was going 49 mph in a 30 mph zone. I didn’t agree with him so I refused to sign it, and he told me if I didn’t I was going to jail. How rude could he have been to threaten to take me to jail just for speeding. To add insult to injury, I look up and three more squad cars had arrived to my car. I’m just a woman. Was all of that necessary? Is it legal for the officer to threaten to take me to jail if I didn’t sign the ticket? Was that a scare tactic that you police officers use?

Answer: I’m sorry for the encounter you had with the police officer, but I must inform you all of your troubles were self-inflicted. Here’s what I mean, first, you were stopped because you probably were unknowingly speeding. I say that because you admitted you were unfamiliar to the area. Speeding is a common mishap when unfamiliar to an area. The second reason is because you refused to sign the citation that was presented to you by a Texas police officer. In Texas, when a police officer decides to issue you a citation for a violation he/she’s accusing you of, “you must sign the ticket or go to jail!” There’s no other option or choice we have. In your case, you didn’t agree with the officer’s accusation, but when you sign a citation in Texas, it is not an agreement to a charge, rather a “promise to appear.” I hope you and other readers spread the word that the accused must sign the citation or be arrested in the great state of Texas.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. You can also tune in via internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email column 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!