Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedWhen commercial drivers are faced with an unsafe lane change ticket, the consequences can extend far beyond a simple traffic fine. 

The potential impact on your driving record, career, and livelihood is significant. In this blog post, we'll reveal the top defense strategies that could help you successfully navigate an unsafe lane change charge — though there are no guarantees.

Factors That Could Affect an Unsafe Lane Change Charge

Understanding the factors that could affect an unsafe lane change charge is crucial. 

This offense often hinges on various factors, including road conditions, traffic, proper signaling, and the act of overtaking other vehicles:

  • Road Conditions — The state of the road at the time of the alleged unsafe lane change can be a critical factor in your defense. Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, ice, or fog may have influenced your ability to safely change lanes. Additionally, if there were potholes, debris, or other hazards in your lane, this could support your argument that you had a legitimate reason for changing lanes without providing a warning first.
  • Signaling — Proper signaling is an essential aspect of lane changes. If you can demonstrate that you used your turn signal correctly and in advance of the lane change, it strengthens your defense. Failure to signal or signal incorrectly can be used against you, so having evidence or testimony that you followed proper signaling protocols is crucial.
  • Traffic Conditions — Traffic density could also affect your defense. If the traffic was heavy, and you needed to merge into another lane to maintain a safe and reasonable speed, this can support your argument that the lane change was necessary for safety reasons. Likewise, if another vehicle moved into your lane abruptly, it could strengthen your defense and show that your lane change was necessary and safe to avoid a collision.
  • Passing Vehicles — Passing other vehicles safely and legally is essential to driving as a commercial driver. It can strengthen your defense if you can demonstrate that you changed lanes to overtake a slower-moving vehicle or to avoid an unsafe situation caused by another driver's actions. However, you must ensure that the lane change was executed safely and in accordance with traffic laws.

Knowing the circumstances surrounding your ticket, discussing it with a traffic attorney, and deciding on a strategy could be the first step in building a strong defense.

Recognizing the Problem with Paying the Fine

One common misconception among commercial drivers is the belief that simply paying the fine is the easiest way forward.

However, it's essential to recognize that paying a fine is an admission of guilt. Moreover, the consequences of paying the fine for an unsafe lane change ticket are more severe than they may appear.

If you pay the fine, the DMV will assess 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points and file the conviction in your motor vehicle driving record. 

Moreover, the DMV will notify the DOT FMCSA, which considers an unsafe lane change a "serious offense."This designation can have severe repercussions for your career.

The DOT FMCSA "Serious Offense” Designation

Once an unsafe lane change is designated as a "serious offense" by the DOT FMCSA, the record of conviction will remain on your Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years. 

A second conviction within those three years for a serious offense in the same category will result in a 60-day driver disqualification, 120 days for a third, and one year for a fourth. Once the DOT FMCSA disqualifies a driver, it is nearly impossible to overcome the disqualification to keep driving and earning a living. 

What’s more, most fleet managers will not hold that seat open while you serve a disqualification, and the scar on your PSP will make it more difficult to land a high-paying driver position with another firm. 

Always Consult a Reputable CA Traffic Law Firm

Given the complex and high-stakes nature of an unsafe lane change ticket for commercial drivers, it's imperative to consult a reputable law firm experienced in traffic defense. 

A knowledgeable and experienced CA traffic attorney can provide guidance and advice that gives you the best chance for a favorable outcome.

Consult Bigger & Harman About an Unsafe Lane Change Ticket in Woodland, CA 

Choose Bigger & Harman, APC, when facing an unsafe lane change charge in Woodland Courthouse in Yolo County, CA, and a possible blemish on your PSP. 

We have been asked to defend nearly 20,000 traffic tickets for CA drivers in various traffic courts across CA. While there are no guarantees, we’ll work diligently with the court official to provide you with the best possible result, whether a no-point, non-moving conviction equivalent to an expensive parking ticket or leverage our experience to get a dismissal. 

Remember, when there’s no conviction, the DMV and FMCSA are not notified, so there’s no scar on your driving record or PSP, and you can apply for that high-paying driving position with confidence.

Contact us at (661) 349-9300 or use our user-friendly contact form or email We’re here for you. 

Download our e-book, Protecting Your Commercial Driver License.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The DOT FMCSA 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers.

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