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What is a Moving Violation?
A moving violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other violations such as parking violations, equipment violations, or paperwork violations relating to insurance, registration, inspection, etc. In theory, moving violations are more likely to directly cause physical harm to persons and property. The other form of violations may cause theoretical risk (nonfunctional taillight) or be limited to financial risk (failure to maintain insurance). While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle’s owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver. However, moving violations enforced by automated camera enforcement may be prosecuted as civil violations against the vehicle’s owner. Moving violations are usually classified as infractions or
misdemeanors, but serious violations can be considered felonies.
The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover (regardless of the type of citation issued, if any), are speed-related violations. Measurements of motorist speed throughout time have found many roadways where compliance with speed laws is very low, making it possible for virtually any motorist to be pulled over at the whim of law enforcement. In most places, moving violations involve fines that must be paid as well as punitive points assessed to the license of the driver. As a driver accumulates points, he or she may be required to attend defensive driving lessons, re-take his or her driving test, pay additional taxes, or even surrender his or her license.
Sometimes tickets are used for fundraising. For example, a local government that is suffering a budget shortfall may ticket more aggressively within its jurisdiction to increase revenue. In the United States, citation fines can vary widely between jurisdictions for the same behavior, usually between $25 and $1000. In countries such as Finland, however, they are specific proportions of the violator’s income, and fines in excess of $100,000 can be assessed to wealthy individuals. In Canada, each province is individual in how they treat similar behavior and each violation usually includes a set fine and demerit points against the driver’s license. For example, a speeding ticket in Ontario of 50+ km over is 6 demerit points against the driver’s license with the approximate fine calculated as (km over x 9.75) x 1.25. Common moving violations-speeding:
exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed-driving too slowly for road conditions
running a stop sign or red traffic light
failure to yield to another vehicle with the right-of-way
failure to signal for turns or lane changes
failing to drive within a single lane
crossing over a center divider median or gore
driving on the shoulder where it is considered illegal under certain conditions
failure to use a seat belt
failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk
failure to stop for a school bus when children are boarding or exiting
failure to secure a load to a truck
driving in a carpool lane illegally
More serious violations include: