Common Traffic Tickets in CA Explained: Impeding Traffic

March 10, 2011

Everyone knows that speeding or running a red light or stop sign can result in being pulled over and given a traffic ticket for your momentary lapse in judgment. But did you know there are literally hundreds of California Vehicle Code sections you can violate every single time you get in your car? (And some, even, that you don’t even require you to be driving?)

If you’ve been cited for one of the many violations dealing with impeding traffic, it could end up costing you hundreds of dollars in fines, an increase in your car insurance premiums, and even a suspension of your license. Learn more about the most common impeding traffic violations:

• VC 21654 – Driving too slowly in the left lane. This section of the Vehicle Code makes it illegal to drive in any lane except for the far right lane if you are traveling at “less than the normal speed of traffic.” If you are driving in the left lane you must drive with the speed of traffic – sometimes even if the speed of traffic is above the posted limit. However, there are several defenses to violations of this infraction which are particularly effective, such as showing that you were about to make a left turn or you were in the process of passing another vehicle. With a skilled attorney on your side, tickets for this sort of infraction can often be dismissed.

• VC 22400(a) – Impeding traffic. You must drive at a reasonable speed so as not to block the normal flow of traffic, regardless of which lane you are in. This is a subjective call by the officer giving you the ticket. It is possible to argue, however, that your speed was reasonable given the road conditions or the safe operation of your particular vehicle. There are many conditions, such as visibility and weather, which an experienced attorney can use to argue that you were in fact driving at a speed necessary for the safe operation of your vehicle.

• VC 21656 – Failure to use turnouts. This section requires that you were driving at a slower rate than the normal flow of traffic on a two lane highway (one in each direction), there were at least five vehicles behind you, and you failed to pull over in a marked turnout area. Unlike the previous section, it is no defense to this violation that you were traveling at speed necessary for the safe operation of your vehicle; if you failed to pull over at a turnout when you could have, you are guilty. However, it is possible to fight and win against this sort of violation with an experienced attorney at your side.

• VC 21703 – Tailgating. You may not follow too closely to another vehicle given your speed, the flow of traffic, and road conditions. This is a subjective call by the citing officer. A general rule of thumb is one car length (about 15 feet) for every 10 mph of speed. However, the determination will be what is “reasonable and prudent” – which may depend on the mood of the officer. This subjective interpretation by the officer can be often successfully be challenged in court.

If you have been cited for any of these common traffic infractions, it would be wise of you to contact an attorney today. Often, these sorts of tickets can be reduced to much less expensive violations or even completely dismissed. If you would like a free and completely confidential evaluation of your case, contact the Law Offices of Scott R. Ball today.


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