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A ticket for failure to obey a traffic control device could be issued for any number of offenses, such as ignoring portable warning signs, failure to yield, stopping on the crosswalk, and many others. These tickets are typically an infraction and often easily defended by a knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney. Many contested tickets result in a reduced no-point violation or outright dismissal when requested by a traffic law attorney. 

However, when that traffic control device is at a railroad crossing, it could be a serious offense for the CDL holder, according to the FMCSA. A first-time conviction of failure to obey a traffic control device at a railroad crossing will get you a 60-day driving disqualification. There is no second chance warning like the other FMCSA serious offenses. 

CDL Ticket: Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 21461Offenses Relating to Traffic Devices, provides that it is unlawful for a driver to disobey or ignore a signal or sign erected to control traffic. This section of code does not apply to those addressed by CVC 22500Stopping, Standing, and Parking. 

Although the fine for most of these violations, except railroad crossings, is approximately $235-$240 depending on the CA County with jurisdiction, typically $238 in Kern County. However, CDL holders are subject to a 50% higher Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) point assessment by the DMV. 

Plus, the DMV will notify the FMCSA of the conviction, and possible Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points will get assessed. These severity points could be multiplied by three time-weights if there was a similar conviction within the previous six months or two time-weights for a second conviction within six to twelve months. 

The CSA points will be visible on the driver’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record for up to three years, which could make it difficult to acquire a better-paying job with another fleet if terminated.

How to Avoid a Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device Ticket

You stand the best chance of not missing traffic control devices when you are fully-alert. Although it is difficult, try not to drive when you are fatigued. Driving fatigued or ill carries a maximum severity of ten for the driver or trucking fleet that allows or directs a driver to continue driving when ill or fatigued. Pull over and take a nap.

A quick 15-20 minute sleep or nap is an easy method or rejuvenation and will prevent drowsiness. After a twenty-minute rest, you will be more alert, but sleeping for more than twenty minutes will make you feel groggier and sleep-deprived. 

When you don’t have time for a rest, pull into the parking lot, take a brisk walk to the coffee shop, and get a hot cup o’ joe to go! The combination of a brisk walk and caffeine will perk you up for a while until you can take that mandatory 30-minute break.

How to Challenge a Traffic Control Device Ticket in Kern County    

When you get ticketed on I-5 in Kern County and have a traffic court appearance in Lamont Traffic Court, contact Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, for a free consultation to discuss your options. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

We handle only traffic law and use a flat fee to resolve your alleged violations. Give us a call.

Send us your questions on email,


The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 21461Offenses Relating to Traffic Devices & CVC 22500Stopping, Standing, and Parking
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