Saturday, March 13

ChipSeal/Reed Bates Update

On March 11, 2010 12:19 PM, Doug McLaren said...

Which charge exactly was he convicted of? The term "Impeding Traffic" does not exist in the Texas transportation code (Though I don't know about any local Ennis ordinances.)

Is this the charge?

§ 42.03. OBSTRUCTING HIGHWAY OR OTHER PASSAGEWAY. (a) A person commits an offense if, without legal privilege or authority, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) obstructs a highway, street, sidewalk, railway,

waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances, regardless of the means of creating the obstruction and whether the obstruction arises from his acts alone or from his acts and the acts of others; or

(2) disobeys a reasonable request or order to move issued by a person the actor knows to be or is informed is a peace officer, a fireman, or a person with authority to control the use of the premises:
(A) to prevent obstruction of a highway or any of those areas mentioned in Subdivision (1); or
(B) to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire, riot, or other hazard.
(b) For purposes of this section, "obstruct" means to render impassable or to render passage unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(Note that this offense is not part of the traffic code.)
Does this section of road have a posted minimum speed limit? If so, then "§ 545.363. MINIMUM SPEED REGULATIONS" would apply, but it has a very explicit exception that says "except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation".

Steve A replied...

Chip was convicted on three counts of violating the Texas Transportation Code, namely:

Sec. 545.363. MINIMUM SPEED REGULATIONS. (a) An operator may not drive so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

Because the court was not a court of record, the manner of appeal is via a rehearing of the entire case, which will happen at the County Seat of Waxahachie rather than in the Ennis court. In total, there are the three Ennis cases that will be reheard, one county case, that will also be heard in Waxahachie, and a new Ennis case that will likely be heard IN Ennis. To the best of my knowledge, ALL represent violation of the same statute, listed above.

BY THE WAY, for those (like Chandra), that have developed a sudden interest in Texas bicycle and other law, I highly recommend

Via the links, you can also go to the legislative site and find out, for example, how that bike lane provision got into the narrow lane provision in the transportation code.

I forgot to mention in my reply - no, the road has no posted minimum speed. Where four of the five citations were issued, it is one of those high speed country roads that have occasional little roads crossing it, along with the periodic ranch driveway. If you were not paying attention, you might get confused and mistake it for a true limited access road, but it is not built to those standards. The sixth citation was in a 30mph segment designated as "business 287." Google streetview can show both segments.

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