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undefinedNavigating California's highways in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) requires a thorough understanding of state-specific traffic laws, especially those regarding lane violations

These laws are designed to facilitate smooth traffic flow and ensure road safety, but when violated, they can result in serious consequences for commercial drivers.

Was Your Citation Written Correctly for a Lane Violation?

Some law enforcement officers (LEOs) seem confused about which Section of the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) covers lane violations.

There are indeed several that could be correct, depending on the situation. Typically, Section 22348 (c)Other Speed Laws, is correct for a lane violation.   

“A vehicle subject to Section 22406 shall be driven in a lane designated pursuant to Section 21655, or 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, or the right-hand lane for traffic as permitted under this code.” — CVC Section 22348 (c)

Many truckers and even law enforcement think of this as a “third lane violation” because commercial trucks and buses are not permitted in the third lane of any highway in CA. 

However, some LEOs mistakenly write the citation for the wrong code. We have even had the weird mistake of seeing a violation for CVC Section 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, which the DOT FMCSA could view as a “serious offense,” an unsafe lane change.

“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.” — CVC Section 22107.

That is why it is always advisable to consult a CA traffic attorney before paying the fine for any moving violation. Traffic attorneys deal with these violations daily, often in traffic court, where they hear traffic court judges rule on these violations. 

Although a traffic court judge isn’t likely to dismiss a citation because the LEO cited the wrong traffic code, they can correct the mistake so the driver is not charged with a serious offense that could lead to a 60-day driver disqualification for a second conviction. 

Imagine how much money a driver could lose if forced to sit on the sidelines for two months? It could be even more if the fleet manager terminates the driver, and with that record on their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record, it might be nearly impossible to get another high-paying driver position with another company. 

Preventing a Lane Violation

CVC Section 22406Other Speed Laws, identifies which vehicles are considered CMVs and restricts their speed limit to 55 mph statewide. Likewise, it is used as the gauge for other sections of traffic code that limit commercial vehicle use. 

As mentioned above, commercial vehicles are limited to the extreme right lane, except when overtaking another vehicle. A commercial driver may use the second lane but never the third or fourth.

This law might seem restrictive, but it aims to ensure road safety, considering the larger size and slower speeds of CMVs. Staying aware of your lane position and planning your maneuvers can help prevent violations. Using signals correctly when changing lanes or overtaking is crucial, ensuring other drivers are informed of your intentions.

The Possible Consequences of a Moving Violation in Your CMV

Being ticketed for a lane violation in your CMV can have serious implications. Such moving violations can result in points on your driving record, potentially leading to higher driver and fleet insurance premiums. Furthermore, repeat violations can jeopardize your commercial driver's license (CDL) and, consequently, the driver’s livelihood.

Moreover, by virtue of their profession, commercial drivers are often held to a higher standard than non-commercial drivers. Even minor violations could be perceived as professional negligence, potentially leading to employment termination.

Why Consulting a CA Traffic Attorney for a Moving Violation Is Always Wise

Consulting with a CA traffic attorney is highly recommended if you receive a lane violation ticket in California. An attorney who practices traffic law can offer invaluable assistance in contesting your ticket, helping protect your driving record and career.

A traffic attorney can scrutinize the details of the citation to ensure it was written correctly. Errors or discrepancies on the ticket may provide grounds for dismissal. They can also verify that you weren't charged with a more serious offense that could result in a driver disqualification.

Moreover, a skilled traffic attorney can devise a strategy to negotiate with the court (although not all courts will allow non-point negotiated deals). Their aim might be to have your moving violation reduced to a non-moving, no-point conviction when successfully challenging the ticket might be insurmountable. No-point convictions are similar to parking tickets, though typically more expensive short term. While more expensive, this outcome would prevent points from being added to your driving record. Likewise, your employer and the DOT FMCSA would not be notified.

In conclusion, understanding and abiding by California's lane violation laws in your CMV is critical for maintaining road safety and your professional reputation. However, if you receive a ticket, remember you have legal options. A CA traffic attorney can guide you through the process, advocating for your best interests and working to minimize the impact of a lane violation on your record.

For more information on this subject, read our flipping book excerpt about “third lane violations.”

Contact Bigger & Harman, APC, for Help Resolving Lane Violations in Victorville Traffic Court in San Bernardino County, CA

We are a Bakersfield traffic ticket defense team. We are trial attorneys who only handle traffic tickets in court. Call us at (661) 349-9300, utilize our online contact form or email us

We offer a free initial consultation by phone or email for your convenience. Please send us a copy of your citation and a brief summary. We’ll respond with our recommendation.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CVC Section 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, Section 22406, & 22348 (c)Other Speed Laws.

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