The fine for a lane violation ticket in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in California usually is $238, depending on which county you receive it. However, a lane violation is a moving violation, and many fleet managers have zero tolerance for moving violations.
You need legal representation to avoid a moving violation conviction. Plus, a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney will keep you out of court and on the road.
Moreover, some law enforcement officers (LEOs) do not know the difference between a lane violation and an unsafe lane change or could mistakenly write the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) for an unsafe lane change on your ticket.
An unsafe lane change is also a $238 fine, depending on where you receive it; however, according to the DOT FMCSA, an unsafe lane change is a “serious offense.”
Imagine how shocked you'd be to discover if you are convicted for an unsafe lane change and discover your first lane violation conviction was mistakenly charged as an unsafe lane change.
An unsafe lane change falls under CVC Section 22107, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals. It warns drivers that “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.”
Whereas a lane violation should be cited as a violation of CVC 22348 (c), Speed Laws, also known as (AKA), a designated lane violation or a third lane violation because trucks and buses are prohibited from the third lane.
It warns drivers, “…if a lane has not been so designated, in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, the driver shall use either the designated lane, the lane to the immediate left of the right-hand lane...”
Otherwise, it could be mistaken for a violation of CVC 21650, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing, which is very similar. It states, “Upon all highways, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway…”
So, you can see how an LEO could get confused about which Section of the CA traffic code to use. If you simply pay the fine, when the DMV assesses 1.5 negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points and forward the conviction notice to the FMCSA, it could be filed as an unsafe lane change, your first serious offense, and a second would require a 60-day unpaid driver’s disqualification.
Furthermore, the verbiage for traffic code varies between states, and the DOT FMCSA is not going to look up the code before filing it. They’ll just file it under the closest violation, which could be a serious offense rather than a less severe violation.
The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51, Driver Disqualifications, provides that any driver convicted of a second violation of a serious offense within three years of the first conviction or paid fine be disqualified as a commercial driver for 60 days.
For more clarification on what constitutes a lane violation, read our blog, What Constitutes a Lane Violation in CA?
What a Lane Violation Means to a Fleet Manager
Any moving violation could mean an increase in the fleet insurance premium. Fleet managers are responsible for keeping the expenses down. An aggressive fleet manager could terminate a driver convicted of a moving violation on the spot. Some would rather take their chances with a driver fresh out of school than a driver with 20 years of experience who has a moving violation, particularly a DOT FMCSA “serious offense.”
When You Need Help with a Lane Violation or Correcting a Conviction, Contact Bigger & Harman, APC
We offer CDL holders a free consultation to verify the facts, determine the best approach, and discuss their options. When resolving traffic tickets, we always use a flat fee.
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The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook Copyright 2022.
The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51, Driver Disqualifications.