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Did You Know that a Failure to Dim Your Lights Is a Chargeable Offense?

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CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 24409Headlamps and Auxiliary Lamps requires you to dim your lights when approaching a vehicle at least 500 feet away, and when following a vehicle a minimum of 300 feet away. However, this CA traffic code says nothing about this law only applying to truckers. Yet, it seems the only ones who ever get ticketed for failure to dim your lights are trucks and sometimes charter buses. 

Failure to Dim Your Lights Is More than Rude

Many big rig drivers turn their light off and then back on after another truck has passed so that the driver knows it is safe to pull back into the right lane. You might think, why wouldn’t they just flash their high beams momentarily.  

You might see many four-wheel drivers and novice CDL holders do that, but everyone should stop doing it. The driver could be looking into the mirror to see if it is safe when they’re suddenly hit with the blinding high beams. Newer trucks are equipped with an interrupt switch, which will cut the lights for a half-second if they’re already on, or off, if not. This will keep the driver from blinding another driver, even if their meaning was well-intended. 

Often, drivers will flash their high beams to get the driver coming at them to dim their lights. Even though they are flashing their high beams to tell another driver to stop being rude, it is in itself a rude gesture. Also, dangerous. The LEO might not be in a position to observe the other driver with their bright high beams on, but you can bet they’ll see you flash yours. Kind of like those flagrant football fouls, which are usually the result of another player’s initial foul, which the ref doesn’t see. 

What Do You Do about a Failure to Dim Your Lights Ticket? 

Well, one thing’s for sure, you don’t want to go into court and tell the judge, “The other guy was being rude, so I flashed my high beams.” Not only did you just admit guilt, but you also let the judge know you are a little childish and perhaps deserve a slap on the wrist. 

However, a conviction for failure to dim your lights is more than a slap on the wrist for the CDL holder. No moving violation is, as all seasoned drivers know. It could lead to employment termination. 

That conviction, in CA, will result in the DMV assessing 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points, which will go on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR). Then, the DMV will send a notice to the FMCSA, who will assess Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points to your fleet and you. It will also go to your employer as an Employer Pull Notice (EPN) Program notification. Still, you are required by law to notify them within 30 days of a conviction, even when the violation was in your private vehicle.

Fleet managers have a zero-defect mentality where they would rather hire an inexperienced driver than one with tickets. The reason why is if there is an accident, particularly with severe injuries or death involving one of their trucks, the question will come up whether they examined the driver’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) for priors before hiring. If not, they could be liable in a civil suit.

Therefore, since you do not have time to sit in court, and even lawyers do not represent themselves, consult a traffic attorney. Once you give them the details of the ticket, they will develop a defense strategy that won’t include an admission of guilt. You won’t need to attend the trial, so you can keep driving, and if there’s no conviction, such as a dismissal or reduced no-point/no moving violation conviction, you won’t need to tell your employer.

Consult a Traffic Attorney about a High Beam Violation in Barstow, CA

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We are traffic attorneys who handle many violations for CDL holders across the state. Many drivers on their way to Vegas get ticketed on I-15. Rather than risking your career, contact us for a free consultation about your charges with no obligation. We can handle most traffic tickets in Barstow or represent you at a DMV NOTS Hearing if necessary. 

Please send us your email attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com with specifics. 

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 24409Headlamps and Auxiliary Lamps

The Forward Thinking articleCSA Scores Made Clear How to Understand and Improve Your CSA Scores