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Unsafe Lane Change Ticket? Are You Kidding Me? He Cut Me Off!

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A bus or truck driver out there on I-80 may have to make a sudden “unsafe” lane change due to another vehicle pulling back in too soon or other circumstances beyond their control. However, the law enforcement officer (LEO) may not have the same perspective of the road and the other driver’s actions. 

Typically, the LEO will charge the bus or truck driver with an unsafe lane change if they change lanes without signaling their intention as directed by the California traffic code. 

Consequences of an Unsafe Lane Change Conviction

An unsafe lane change is governed by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, which warns all drivers, “No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.”

However, for the non-commercial motor vehicle (non-CMV) driver, the offense is around $238 for the fine and one negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) point. On the other hand, a CMV driver who is convicted of or pays the fine for an unsafe lane change faces 50% more, or 1.5 NOTS points, and severe penalties from the FMCSA, especially for a second conviction within three years of the first because the FMCSA views an unsafe lane change as a serious offense.

Title 49 of the CFR, Unsafe Lane Changes, & Serious Offenses   

Title 49 of the Combined Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 383.51 considers several violations as “serious offenses,” such as:

  • Unsafe lane change
  • Following too close
  • Railroad crossing violations
  • Excessive speeding (15 mph over or any speeding in a construction zone)
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving without a commercial driver’s permit or license (CLP or CDL) 
  • Driving without the proper endorsement
  • Driving while using a handheld communication device

A second conviction of any of the above, except a railroad crossing violation, will lead to a 60-day disqualification within three years of the first offense. A railroad crossing conviction will lead to an immediate 60-day disqualification, no second chance. 

The CDL holder’s best option is to challenge any traffic ticket in traffic court. And since most commercial drivers do not have the time to sit and wait for their name to be called in traffic court, they should consult a traffic ticket attorney to challenge the ticket. 

Traffic Ticket Attorneys Who Handle Unsafe Lane Change Violations in Roseville, CA  

If you have an unsafe lane change or any traffic ticket, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle only traffic law issues, mostly for CDL holders in Roseville Traffic Court. We can also represent CDL holders at the DMV NOTS Hearing to request more leeway on NOTS points based on miles driven in a CMV, and the additional risk for bus drivers and truckers.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC Section 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals

Title 49 of the CFR, Part 383.51Disqualification of Drivers