EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Wess Winn, community services officer and crime prevention coordinator with the Waxahachie Police Department to write a weekly column in an effort to answer many of the law enforcement-related questions posed by our readers. Here’s this week’s column.
One of the many situations drivers get mad at us (police officers) about is when we stop them for not stopping correctly at a stop sign.
Yes there is a correct way to stop. Some of the excuses we get are; “My vehicle rolled backwards,” or “There was no one coming.” Both of those do not constitute a good excuse for not stopping.
First, let’s discuss where the vehicle needs to stop at when approaching a stop sign.
The driver is required to stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. In the absence of a crosswalk, the driver shall stop at a clearly marked stop line. In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop at the place nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. [Transportation Code (TC) 544.010(C)].
The Transportation Code [541.401 10(A)] describes a “stop” as being when a vehicle ceases all motion. Cease is defined as putting an end to or discontinue.
Just because the vehicle rolled back does not constitute a legal stop because the vehicle was still in motion.
There is no magic “one second” count and then go. Just make sure the vehicle has ceased all motion before proceeding.
The other excuse, about no one was coming, is just dumb.
The traffic control signs are not placed for a suggestion or for drivers’ interpretation but to keep drivers and passengers safe.
When I stop drivers for running a stop sign, I wait for an excuse and many times they advise me they proceeded without stopping because no one was coming.
Many times there are young children in the vehicle, those old enough to know what their parents just did. It is then I advise the parents that the children will soon be driving and they will take on the same behaviors of their parents.
My kids remind me of this all the time.
If you have a Police Beat question for Officer Wess Winn, he may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-937-9940, Ext. 211. Look for your questions to be answered here in the Waxahachie Daily Light every Sunday or listen to officer Winn’s show on KBEC Radio AM 1390 at 9 a.m. every Monday.