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Trucking California: Lane Violations

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When you are in the second lane in your four-wheel, two-axle car, van, or pickup, and there’s a truck on your left and a truck on your right, there could be two violations happening. One could be a trucking lane violation, and the other could be a violation for going too slow and impeding traffic.

One is the truck in the third lane, which is a trucking lane violation. According to the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22348 (c), Speed Laws, which restricts trucks and other vehicles that fall under CVC 22406, the other, also titled Speed Laws, is a restriction to the right lane or the next left lane to overtake another vehicle. It states those vehicles explicitly, “…shall be driven in a lane designated… or if a lane has not been so designated…” in the right lane closest to the curb. Unless that driver is making a left-hand turn or where required to maintain an onward route of travel.

CVC 22406 directs the vehicles identified under this code, such as motor trucks and buses with three or more axles, including those towing another vehicle to a speed limit of 55 mph. These are mostly commercial vehicles, but it does include passenger vehicles towing another vehicle, boat, trailer, etc.

The second violation could be you impeding traffic by driving too slowly. When a big rig has to go out into the third lane to pass you in a passenger vehicle, you are probably violating CVC 22400, Other Speed Laws, which specifically prohibits a driver from traveling at “…a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic…” Many truckers think of this as a “third lane violation.”

However, who do you honestly believe would be stopped? The truck in the third lane or the car in the second lane going 40 or 45 mph?

Have you ever heard of the Commercial Mobile Road Enforcement Unit? Their specific function as part of the CHP is to monitor and enforce the movement of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) within the state. Whenever a trucker gets pulled into a weigh station, most of those inspectors are CHP who are part of that enforcement unit even though they usually receive training from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

Trucks Only Lane Violation

According to Caltrans, there are at least two instances where there are trucks only lanes in CA. These are on I-5, both north and south extending about two and one-half miles, close to SR-14 to facilitate the ease and separation of trucks entering the freeway. The other is on I-5 southbound, near the SR-99 junction in Kern County close to the Grapevine.

Caltrans advises these lanes are mandatory for trucks and other vehicles that fall under CVC 22406, but traffic law does not prohibit four-wheeled vehicles from mixing in with the truck traffic.

However, if you pull into the trucks only lane, you are quite likely infringing on the driver’s ability to keep ample space between themselves and the vehicle in front, which opens them up to a “following too closely” charge.

Lane Violation Conviction Equals 1.5 NOTS Points

CVC 12810.5, Issuance of Licenses, Expiration, and Renewal requires the DMV to assess negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points “…one and one-half times the value otherwise required…” for those drivers of vehicles that require a Class A or B license, or an endorsement to get penalized 50 percent more.

Basically, what they are saying is a CMV driver who is convicted or pleads guilty by paying a fine for an infraction that would normally get assessed one NOTS point will be assessed 1.5. A more serious conviction will get assessed three NOTS points.

What’s more, that lane violation cannot be masked as confidential as it would be possible for a violation in a non-commercial vehicle. Therefore, all CDL holders must challenge their traffic tickets, or face the possibility of termination and a more difficult time getting another driving job with even a minor infraction such as a lane violation on their record.

Many fleet managers will terminate a driver who gets even one conviction. In many cases, they would rather hire an inexperienced driver than keep a driver with a violation. Do yourself a favor and challenge every traffic ticket with a traffic attorney. The job you save might be your own.

Bigger & Harman Are Traffic Attorneys Who Regularly Practice in the Roseville, CA, Area

When you get a traffic ticket for a lane violation, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We provide an initial consultation for CDL holders and other drivers to determine the details of the violation. If you agree to our flat fee, which never changes regardless of how many court appearances we must make, we will handle the resolution of your ticket.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019-2021 DL 650 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The CVSA.org Inspection web page

The Caltrans web page, Truck-Only Lanes

CVC 12810.5, Issuance of Licenses, Expiration, and Renewal, 22348 (c), 22400, & 22406, Speed Laws