The Grapevine, located on the Tejon Pass in California, is a notorious section of Interstate 5 with a 6% five-mile grade. Due to the steepness of the grade, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has implemented reduced speed limits on the Grapevine.
The Northbound I-5 drops 2,613 feet over 11.6 miles. The worse of it is the steep grade at Grapevine Hill, 6.5 miles from the summit.
It is crucial for truck drivers to adhere to the speed limit, as failure to do so can result in a speeding ticket, fines, and other consequences. In this article, we will discuss why the reduced speed limits on the Grapevine are necessary and why truck drivers must hire a traffic attorney to challenge any speeding tickets in court or risk their career.
Why Reduced Speed Limits on the Grapevine Are Necessary
The Grapevine's steep grade poses several safety concerns for drivers, especially for large commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses. These vehicles require significant stopping times, particularly with a full load. The weighted trailer pushes the truck downhill. If they are traveling too fast, they may not be able to stop in time or maintain control of their vehicle.
To address these concerns, Caltrans has implemented reduced speed limits for all vehicles on the Grapevine. The speed limit for commercial vehicles with three or more axles is as low as 35 MPH, with other places 45 mph, while the speed limit for other vehicles is 65 mph. These speed limits are necessary to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road.
Consequences of Speeding on the Grapevine
Driving above the posted speed limit on the Grapevine can result in a speeding ticket, which can be costly for commercial drivers. Depending on where you were when cited, you might need to challenge your speeding ticket in Lamont Traffic Court if you were closer to Kern County or in Chatsworth Traffic Court if you were closer to LA County.
In fact, any conviction or paid fine for a moving violation will be reported to the DMV, and 1.5 negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points will be assessed. The DMV will also send a notification to the DOT FMCSA, which will assess Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points will be assessed depending on your speed.
A speeding ticket conviction will result in a fine, NOTS points on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR) in CA, and CSA severity points and time weights that will stay on your pre-employment screening program (PSP) record for three years at the FMCSA level.
Moreover, truck drivers who accumulate too many NOTS points on their MVR will face suspension or revocation, which can significantly impact their commercial driver's license (CDL) and livelihood.
However, a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney can assist you in getting more NOTS points leeway before suspension from the DMV.
Why Bus & Truck Drivers Should Hire a Traffic Attorney
Truck drivers who receive a speeding ticket on the Grapevine should consider hiring a traffic attorney to challenge the citation in court. A traffic attorney can review the evidence and develop a defense strategy to minimize the consequences of a speeding ticket.
A traffic attorney can challenge the calibration and accuracy of the radar gun or other speed detection devices used by law enforcement. They can also argue that the speed limit signs were not adequately posted or that the driver was traveling at a reasonable speed, given the circumstances.
“I received a speeding ticket coming down the grapevine. I thought this was unfair because of how the setup was. I found Bigger & Harman by Google for Kern County. I called them and was greeted by a very kind and professional person. She let me know the outcome of how this could go either way.”—John Q. Fontana, CA Read more…
A traffic attorney can also negotiate with the traffic court judge to reduce the charges or dismiss the ticket when appropriate. This can help truck drivers to avoid fines and points on their license, which can negatively impact their career.
In conclusion, the reduced speed limits on the Grapevine are considered necessary to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road according to the engineers at Caltrans. Truck drivers should adhere to these speed limits as best they can and hire a traffic attorney to challenge any speeding tickets received. A traffic attorney can help to minimize the consequences of a speeding ticket and protect the driver's CDL and career.
Consult a CA Traffic Attorney Who Practices in Lamont or Chatsworth, CA
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Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.
CVC Sections 22406, Other Speed Laws.