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Beat the Traffic: Tickets issued for cracked windshield

by Katherine Whaley / 11 News

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 8:39 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 7 at 2:58 PM

HOUSTON -- If you drive around Houston, chances are, your windshield has suffered from cracks or chips.  We heard from one driver who was ticketed for a cracked windshield, and wanted to know if windshield damage a legitimate violation.

"That's our luck!" driver Shane Burgin exclaimed as he spoke about the ticket he received in early September while driving on Bellaire Boulevard.  "I asked him why he pulled me over and he said it was because of the crack in my windshield," he explained.  An officer from The City of Southside Place officer cited him for "obstructing drivers view windshield."  Shane opted to pay $224 dollars to replace the window and a $10 to fee to dismiss the ticket, rather than pay the $190 ticket fee.  Even though he paid the price, he says the ticket never should have been issued in the first place.  "It was a real tiny crack, not even eight inches from the top of the windshield," he explained. 

Shane also he also took a look at the books, and decided a cracked windshield may not be against the law after all.  "It says an object can't be placed on or attached to the windshield that obstructs the view, and I don't see how a crack can be placed on or attached," he told us.    

In fact, a cracked windshield is not an item for inspection on non-commercial vehicles, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.  The following information was taken from the Texas DPS website:

Will I fail my inspection if my windshield is cracked?
The windshield is NOT an item of inspection. However, the windshield wipers are. Be sure that the crack does not cause the wipers to tear and that the crack has not caused the windshield to become concave or convex so the wipers loose contact with the windshield.

We emailed the City of Southside Place for an explanation.  Police Chief Lonnie Bernhardt sent us this emailed response: 

"Windshields are not an item for inspection according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Therefore it is not a violation of the Texas Transportation Code."

Chief Bernhardt also explained that officers can still write a ticket, if they feel there's a safety issue. 

Shane Burgin's case is closed, but he wanted you to know what he found out to help you beat the traffic.  "I think it's more the principal of the thing."