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Big Consequences When Speeding in a Truck in California

When it comes to speeding in a truck in California, it is sometimes the case that the bigger a vehicle is, the harsher the fine will be. Or, so it seems, however, all commercial drivers are held to a stricter standard. Operating a commercial truck on freeways like I-5 not only requires a great deal of skill but continual monitoring of lane designations and speeds as well, particularly on the Grapevine.

Truckers should also know that it is illegal to install radar detectors and jammers in commercial vehicles. California police maintain strict calibration schedules for their radar equipment. Each police department has its own calibration timeline, but they all must meet or exceed National Traffic Highway Safety Administration standards. This standard requires calibration at least once every three years. Chances are if you are cited for speeding in a truck, the radar that caught you was accurate. However, it doesn’t hurt to have an attorney check for that and any other possible technicalities, which could lead to a dismissal of charges.

Speeding in a Truck on I-5

I-5 minor speeding infractions and generally all CA speeding penalties are divided into three categories. 1-15 mph over the limit is a $230-250 fine. 16-25 mph over is $360-380, and more than 26 mph over is $490-500. Truck drivers are held to a stricter standard because there is an absolute limit of 55-mph on their speed and it takes longer to slow down and stop when speeding in a truck.

According to CVC 22406 (a), no commercial vehicle can travel on California highways at a greater speed than 55 mph. For drivers holding a commercial driver's license (CDL), highway speeding tickets are not only expensive, but the DMV will assess 1.5 points on your driving record for up to 3 years.

Speeding 1-9 mph over the 55-mph limit has a fine of approximately $285 for a first offense. Speeding over 10 mph has a fine of nearly $500 for a first offense. These fines are also consistent on highway portions that have a designated vehicle speed limit that is different than passenger traffic. Many fleet truckers have a governor on their trucks that will not allow speeding, but many independent truckers do not use those. Even if you do, governors are often not accurate.

Designated Lane for Truckers

Commercial vehicles must always travel in designated lanes, or as close to the right-side curb as possible. Center and left lane traveling is allowed for safe passing, or to make a highway exit. Not using designated lanes can carry a fine of no more than $500, pursuant to CVC 21655, Driving on Right Side and CVC 22348 (c), Speed Laws.

Differential Speed for Truckers

The cause for California's strict truck speed differential is based on the science that shows heavy commercial vehicles behave differently than light vehicles in different conditions. On the I-5 Grapevine, for example, extreme declines and curves must be negotiated. It takes more time and distance for heavy trucks and buses to slow down and stop. There are also only two and four lanes on many sections of this highway. A slower truck pace allows passenger traffic to safely pass.

The Grapevine is notorious for harsh conditions and unique commercial vehicle speeding tickets. Not only must these vehicles adhere to the general 55 mph limit, but they must also correct their speed for differential limits. It is not uncommon to see 55 mph go down to 45 or 35 mph in special zones within a very short stretch of freeway. If a trucker is going 60 mph, although it is only 5 mph over the 55-mph limit according to the general highway law, on the Grapevine, however, a section of the highway can suddenly have a decreased limit of 35 mph. 60 mph would then be a 25-mph violation. The fine jumps and it could be counted as a serious infraction with the FMCSA, two of which will put you out of service for 60 days.

NOTE: All fines presented here are approximate and for information purposes only. These fines vary depending on the CA Judicial Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule and the county bail schedule.

Santa Clarita Courthouse

California's complex highway system presents many challenges for commercial drivers. This includes inflexible speeding fines in very flexible speed zones. Aside from the safety of your load, priority number one should be right lane driving to be able to spot every speed limit sign.

Paying a speeding ticket that was issued on the Grapevine normally happens at the Lamont or Santa Clarita Courthouse. The court's hours of operation are 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday, and it is advisable to call (661) 253-7316 to find out scheduled days for traffic cases. Most seasoned truckers are aware of the penalties for speeding in a truck, but for the less seasoned truckers, when you receive a speeding ticket, call Bigger & Harman for legal advice before pleading guilty and paying your fine. Your job and livelihood likely depend on you keeping a clean driving record for your CDL.

Hire seasoned Traffic Lawyer

Bigger & Harman have a trusted reputation of honest and straightforward legal counsel and advice to their clients. What’s more, we provide a cost-free, no obligation consultation on the phone with potential clients. When you receive a ticket for speeding in a truck, call Bigger & Harman to avoid the possible big consequences of a speeding conviction and penalties on your CDL. Bigger & Harman represent traffic ticket clients in Santa Clarita Traffic Court, as well as many courts in LA, SLO, and Riverside, plus all the counties of Central Valley.

Call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 to discuss your situation or email: attorney@markbigger.com

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