The “unsafe lane change” ticket can mean many things to both the law enforcement officer (LEO) and the commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder or commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver. Although these traffic tickets can apply to any commercial vehicle driver, such as limo, Lyft, Uber, charter bus, and truck drivers, an unusually high number of these citations are issued to truck drivers.
What Constitutes an Unsafe Lane Change in California?
As stated above, several conditions could lead to an LEO issuing a traffic citation for an unsafe lane change. Let’s take an in-depth look at three of those conditions and the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) that specifically covers it.
CVC Section 21658(a), Driving on Right Side refers to driving as close to the right shoulder or curb along the highway as possible and “entirely within a single lane.”
CVC Section 22348(c), Speed Laws warns commercial drivers of those vehicles described in CVC 22406 about using “designated lanes.” Yes, in CA, most commercial vehicles are prohibited from all but the first lane or the second lane for overtaking when there are three or more lanes.
CVC Section 22107, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals provides that drivers will not move out of their lane without first warning other drivers of their intentions by use of a directional blinker, not less than 100 meters before the turn, and “…only after the giving of an appropriate signal…”
All of these sections of traffic code and many others make sense in the normal course of driving on the highway or freeway. However, many times it is not “cut and dry.” That driver of the Prius when there is a huge SUV barreling up behind them with their flashers on and incessantly flashing their lights, can make the Prius driver nervous and cut back in before it is safe to do so.
The large commercial vehicle might make an evasive maneuver to the right knowing the SUV is in the left lane. But the LEO in the first lane observing traffic would likely miss everything but the commercial vehicle’s evasive maneuver, pull them over, and issue an “unsafe lane change ticket.”
The CDL holder might think, “Well, I did turn without the use of my blinker, so I am guilty. I will just pay the fine and keep on trucking.” Is that right? Or the better question might be, Is that fair? Regardless of the circumstances, you must always consult with a traffic attorney before deciding to pay the fine or contest the ticket.
Who Handles Unsafe Lane Change Tickets in Roseville, CA?
When you get a traffic ticket as a CDL holder, you must always consult an attorney, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We offer a free initial consultation to commercial drivers and regular drivers. We can also handle your DMV NOTS hearing in Roseville, CA. Don’t risk a sanction by the FMCSA or termination by fleet management. Give us a call.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf