Traffic Tip: Traffic-control signals
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By Julian Huerta
This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code, section 544.007
Sec. 544.007. TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN GENERAL.
(This is just section (I) of this traffic law dealing with a driver facing a traffic control signal not working basically as one approaches a signal)
(i) An operator of a vehicle facing a traffic-control signal that does not display an indication in any of the signal heads shall stop as provided by Section 544.010 as if the intersection had a stop sign.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 19.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
(Section 544.010 referred to in the above law governs stop signs and yield signs)
Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?
This article is being repeated because a lot of times, people don't realize that this situation in which the signal lights are completely out at an intersection merits a complete total stop before proceeding through the intersection.
This lack of understanding about this particular traffic law leads to a lot of confusion, and many cell phone calls to the 911 center about near crashes, when this occurs.
The situation should be treated as a stop sign situation. Most times an officer is dispatched to take over traffic control because of the confusion when this situation occurs. Having to dispatch an officer is unnecessary as everyone licensed to drive in Texas should be familiar with the traffic laws when they operate a vehicle in Texas.
Is this really a legal or valid reason to be stopped?
Yes, because it is a safety issue for the motorist on the roadway when people do not comply, or are not aware of what to do.
As defined by the Texas transportation code, as you can see, the Officer would be within his authority to affect a stop and take whatever enforcement action that particular officer deems appropriate. Remember, traffic enforcement is about correcting driving errors through issuing of warnings and citations as a means of education to help assure a safe driving environment for everyone.
If you have a traffic law question, contact Sgt. Julian Huerta, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.