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What Constitutes a Non-Emergency Stop on a California Freeway?

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The term non-emergency stop can be contentious. Some will argue that a truck driver nearing the end of their 11 hours of service or driving time constitutes an emergency stop. Others will say, “No, that was just poor planning.”  

However, how can a driver plan around shippers who take four to six hours to load their truck, traffic jams that clog traffic for hours at a time, mechanical problems, roadside inspections, no parking, or reduced visibility due to weather? It’s easy to judge from the comfort of your living room.   

Typically, unless there is a mechanical or medical problem, it is illegal to park on the shoulder of the freeway in CA and many other states. Even then, the driver must put out warning triangles according to the directives in CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 25300Warning Lights, and Devices, which states each vehicle or combination of vehicles must have a minimum of three red warning triangles. 

Place these triangles 100 feet to the front and rear, or 200 and 100 feet to the rear of a disabled vehicle on a one-way highway. For more information or instructions, consult the 2019-2021 DL 650 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf.

What’s more, no driver wants to be the reason someone had a fatal accident because they plowed into the back end of their parked truck.  

CVC Section 21718Driving, Overtaking, and Passing, states no driver will stop or leave standing a vehicle upon the freeway except, “When necessary to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.” Although this is the most crucial rule, it could be left to interpretation. 

The most crucial interpretation is not the law enforcement officer (LEO) who ticketed you for a non-emergency stop; it’s the traffic court judge, unless you give in and let the LEO have their way. The burden of proof is on the state, despite what many believe.

The Real Price of a Non-Emergency Stop  

Some newbie drivers might tell themselves, “it’s only a couple hundred, I can earn that back if I just keep driving.” But is it really only “a couple hundred”? Consider the increase in insurance premiums. After paying the fine, you cannot attend traffic school like you could if it were your private vehicle. 

Owner-operators will likely pay a minimum $700 more per year in insurance for three years. Fleet insurance will go up, though that is much harder to measure. However, you can bet the fleet managers will notice. They might even consider that ticketed driver a liability, terminate them, and hire another newbie with no tickets. 

Why do you think the turnover rate for truckers is around 80 percent? According to the truckinginfo.com articleEarly-Stage Driver Turnover on the Rise dated August 6, 2019, “…only 64.9% made it 90 days on their new jobs.” That means nearly 35% didn’t last three months on the job. 

CDL holders must challenge every traffic ticket or roadside violation to keep down the number of Compliance, Safety, & Accountability (CSA) severity points and time weight multipliers. 

Traffic Attorneys Who Handle the Misdemeanor Speeding Ticket in Kern County

The legal firm of Bigger & Harman has their office at 1701 Westwind Drive, Suite 203 in Bakersfield, CA, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle only traffic issues for CDL holders and non-commercial drivers across CA.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

References:

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

The truckinginfo.com articleEarly-Stage Driver Turnover on the Rise

CVC 21718Driving, Overtaking, and Passing and CVC 25300Warning Lights and Devices