So, a law enforcement officer (LEO) caught you out there on I-80 just outside Roseville and wrote you up an unsafe lane change ticket for not using your blinker soon enough before you pulled out to pass. Now you’re thinking about going down to the courthouse and paying the plus or minus $238 the internet says you’ll have to pay.
Why It Makes Sense to Challenge an Unsafe Lane Change Ticket
If you talk to some of the more seasoned truck drivers, they’ll tell you that an unsafe lane change conviction is a serious offense, according to the FMCSA. That means if you get a second one within three years, you will get a 60-day disqualification. We could also tell you a third will get you a 120-day disqualification, but that would be like rubbing salt into the wound. What you need is reliable information about resolving that ticket before you start worrying about a second or third.
So, then what do you do if you paid the fine and have a serious offense on your PSP, and that little Prius cut you off when they pull back in too soon? The LEO’s going to give you a ticket, the FMCSA is going to say you have a 60-day suspension, and the fleet manager is going to say, “Sorry but, we can’t hold that position open for you while you serve the disqualification.”
Another thing you might want to consider about that serious offense you’re staring at is that If you get terminated from your current fleet because of it, you will very likely have a difficult time getting another job trucking. Once that conviction, and that’s what a paid fine is, believe it or not, is filed with the DMV in Cali, they will send it on to the FMCSA. Well, they will first assess 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points, and then, the FMCSA will assess five Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points for you and your fleet.
Too many CSA points mean higher fleet insurance, more frequent roadside inspections for the entire fleet, and a spot on your Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record. The first two give that fleet manager ample excuse to terminate you, and the blemish on your PSP for three years will make it more challenging to get hired if they do.
Only the Judge Can Decide if You Made an Unsafe Lane Change
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22107, Turning Stopping and Turning Signals states, a driver must not turn from their position on the road unless they can do so “with reasonable safety” and after making their intentions known by “giving an appropriate signal.” The LEO can use their discretion to pull you over and issue you a citation if they believe you did not give an appropriate signal.
What is an appropriate signal or sufficient warning? CVC 22108, also titled, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals says an appropriate signal is given “…continuously during the last 100 feet…” before the turn. However, if a car cuts you off, do you have time to give an appropriate signal? Let the judge decide. That is what they get paid for, and it is the State who has the burden of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
If you simply give up and pay the fine, it will only get more difficult for you down the road. Consult with a traffic law professional before you decide whether to challenge the ticket or give up.
Unsafe Lane Change Trucking Ticket in Roseville, CA
CDL holders often have no other choice but to challenge every traffic ticket. Guilty or innocent, they could become the victim of being cut-off or making the smart move to possibly save lives. Contact Bigger & Harman, APC, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
We are practicing traffic attorneys. In fact, that’s all we do. We do not handle family court issues, personal injury, or civil suits. We concentrate on protecting the rights of CA drivers.
Send them an email, email@example.com.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The Forward Thinking article, CSA Scores Made Clear How to Understand and Improve Your CSA Scores
The FMCSA Safety Planner