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undefinedThe similarities between an unsafe lane change and a lane violation are not always clear for law enforcement officers (LEO). However, unsafe lane change consequences, particularly at the DOT FMCSA, are vastly different than for a lane violation.

Law Enforcement Might Use the Wrong Section of the Traffic Code

CA Vehicle Code (VC) Section 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals states:

“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.”

CA VC Section 22108, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, further states, "Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.”

Likewise, CA VC Section 21655, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing and Section 22348(c) Speed Laws, provide guidance for vehicles subject to CA VC 22406, Speed Laws, primarily commercial vehicles that are restricted to 55 mph statewide, but could include other vehicles with three or more axles and vehicles towing another vehicle.

With so many traffic codes addressing the same violation, you can understand how a LEO might cite you using the wrong code. 

Although a traffic court judge will probably not dismiss a ticket just because the wrong code is quoted, the FMCSA, which deals with all 50 states and their individual laws, might not bother to look to see if your violation was actually a lane violation rather than an unsafe lane change, which is a “serious offense.”  

A lane violation might comprise a commercial driver traveling in the third lane on I-5 or SR #99, but an unsafe lane change is when a driver switches lanes without using a blinker to warn other drivers of their intent. 

Although both are a moving violation with a $238 fine and 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points, an unsafe lane change is a serious offense at the US DOT FMCSA. 

Therefore, when notified of the moving violation, they will assess the Compatibility, Safety, and Compliance (CSA) severity points and place it in the driver’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years.

If the commercial driver is convicted of another serious offense within that three-year period, they are subject to a 60-day driver disqualification, a third, 120 days, and a fourth, one year.    

Whenever a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder has a moving violation, they have no choice but to dispute the ticket in court with a CA traffic attorney to protect their CDL and their career. Read this blog post for more information about “California Traffic Law Concerning an Unsafe Lane Change.”

Contact Bigger & Harman to Discuss Unsafe Lane Change Consequences

Call us when you have been issued an unsafe lane change citation us (661) 349-9300, utilize our handy online contact form or email us at

We are practicing Central Valley traffic attorneys who frequently represent commercial drivers in Fresno County Courthouse. We provide a complimentary initial consultation for commercial drivers by phone, email, or in person. 

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

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


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

The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CVC Section 21655Driving, Overtaking, and Passing, Sections 22107 & 22108, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, & Section 22348 (c), Speed Laws.

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