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Caught Speeding on the Grapevine. What’s Next?

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Have you recently been caught speeding in your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) because of the Grapevine’s sudden drop to a 35-mph zone? This stretch of highway in the Tehachapi Mountains, which includes the Tejon Pass at 1,499 feet, is notorious for a severely steep grade, severe weather conditions and a ton of speeding tickets.

How Do you Prevent Getting a Speeding Ticket?

The Grapevine region is a place known to be dangerous and prone to accidents. For you truckers from out-of-state, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) explains that the Grapevine starts at the north end of Castaic in the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV). Another problem particular to this area is that the CA highway patrol (CHP) closes the road during snow or icy conditions. This stretch of highway, notoriously known as the Grapevine is approximately five to six miles long. Though, for many truckers and bus drivers, it seems a lot longer.

Knowing that the place is dangerous, the CHP is strict about holding commercial drivers to a higher standard and the courts, higher fines. Truckers and buses rolling through this mountain pass need to keep an eye out for the 35 mph speed limit switch from 55 mph on your descent and 45 mph while ascending that section of I-5. CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22406, Other Speed Laws states, “No person may drive any of the following vehicles on a highway at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour…” trucks with three axles or more and any vehicle towing another, buses, farm labor transports with passengers and any vehicle hauling explosives.

As expensive as speeding tickets are for regular drivers in Cali, it’s much worse for commercial drivers. There’s not just the double standard; there is also what some believe is double jeopardy for CDL holders.

The Speeding Conviction Double Standard: DMV & FMCSA

The DMV will assess 1.5 NOTS points for speeding, and the FMCSA will assess Compliance, Safety, Accountability CSA severity points for the same violation. Much worse, when you are found guilty of speeding 15 or more mph over the limit twice within a three-year period, the FMCSA can disqualify you from driving a CMV for 60 days. Chances are fleet management will not wait for your disqualification to end before filling your driving position. Even if you are an owner-operator, a third conviction of 15 mph over in three years will earn you a 120-day disqualification.

If you think it is difficult to get caught twice in three years, think about the difference between 55 mph and the reduced 35-mph limit. Think about how many trucks and buses fill the first lane on mountainous roads possibly blocking those speed limit signs. If you’re a novice driver, you might miss the sign. Another thing worth considering is how many times these drivers must transport goods or passengers up and down the Grapevine within a three-year period!

Truckers and even bus drivers must continually monitor the lane designations provided on the highway. Some areas of CA have designated slow lanes for trucks, and CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22348(c), Speed Laws, stipulates that when there are three or more lanes, vehicles that fall under CVC 22406, must use the first two lanes only, except to overtake another truck or bus.

When possible, stay on the right-side curb to avoid penalties. You can also install a speed governor on your truck. Many fleet trucks are already governed to 60 or 62 mph. However, do not depend on these governors, as they are not always accurate.

What’s Next?

When you tried to keep the traffic laws, and you failed, contact a traffic ticket lawyer. The professionals have the experience of dealing with such cases, and you cannot take a day or two off from driving to attend court to challenge a speeding ticket.

Likewise, merely paying the speeding ticket will not do either. CDL holders know they must challenge every citation for a moving violation. Plus, the cost of hiring a professional ticket lawyer is almost always less expensive than paying the fine and increased insurance premium for three years. Allow the professionals to do what they do best.

Traffic Ticket Attorneys for Out of Lane Trucks in Chatsworth and Lamont, CA

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755. Email attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com or send a private message to our Facebook page.

Avvo, Nolo, and Yelp have hundreds of mostly positive statements about the legal service we provide. We cannot win every case or secure a reduced charge for every client, but we give you the best possible chance for dismissal or no-point conviction, which means no increase in insurance premiums.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

CVC 22348(c), Speed Laws

CVC 22406, Other Speed Laws