We won’t claim to be prophets, but we did see this coming. In late April, we predicted a major mid-year spike in traffic citations. The reason for this spike is that local and state governments coming out of their Covid-19 quarantines needed to make up for the loss of revenue they would normally have. Especially for smaller towns and counties, traffic fines make up a big chunk of the local government income. We had seen patterns like this in the past as recently as the 2008 Recession. It’s not mean-spirited or conniving, just local governments scrambling to not go broke.
Almost four months later, we can see the results we expected. Law enforcement is getting more and more specific and persistent at stopping drivers. The tickets officers write show the fine-tooth comb kind of violations that most would normally waive away. All over the country, we are seeing increased ticket numbers. The main violations we’re seeing jump are:
- Speeding 5 mph or less over the limit. These little speeding violations don’t seem like much, but they can pile up and can become problematic on your record. Our drivers have been pulled over cruising downhill, slowing into a construction zone, and even going what they think is the speed limit, but an officer’s radar shows differently. Any little slip in speed can get you stopped and with more of these being issued across the country having legal protection is key.
- Cell phone “use.” We have seen a huge surge of these tickets; usually when a driver is fiddling with his earpiece, glancing at a GPS or anything that could appear that you are using a cell phone. This is one of the easiest excuses for an officer to pull you over. Who’s to say he didn’t see you talking on your phone? It’s word against word, and now he can do a vehicle and logs inspection to find something concrete to write you up for. These violations whether a citation or written on an inspection can be job killers.
- Log violations. These were generally passed over when quarantines had drivers running above normal volume to keep the country fed. Now, though, they make a handy target for fines. And fines on log violations can be steep. We’ve seen tickets come in with multiple log violations amounting to over a thousand dollars on the bottom line.
- Lane violations. These rank up with “Cell Phone Use” for charges that seem really unfair. Most of the lane violation tickets we’ve seen recently have been given in that gray area of passing/avoiding traffic/exiting left. Often, the driver is just trying to be safe and defensive, but gets pulled over anyway.
- Overweight violations. Normally, these violations are either extremely high (over a thousand dollars) or the violation is written on an inspection report and kept off a ticket. Now, we’re seeing a huge boom in overweight violations with smaller fines ($500-$750). This shows that DOT Officials writing these tickets are ticketing for smaller amounts of overweight and are getting drivers on both the ticket and the inspection report.
So what can drivers do to keep themselves safe from citations and their consequences?
- Drive safe and legal. Continue the best driving practices that you have heard preached in your career. The more you police yourself, the less you’ll have to sweat through every small town and county line.
- Pre-trip and mid-trip inspections. Making sure you go through your truck with a fine toothed comb prior to a trip and even during stops will be even more critical to avoid violations. An officer can use a ticket to give you and your truck an inspection. Anything he finds out of place can spell disaster for you.
- Don’t just pay the fine! Too many drivers find themselves with a suspended license from just paying the fine on a CDL citation. This surge in citations means courts will be willing to make deals, especially if you have representation. They’re less concerned about nailing you and taking your licence than taking your fine money and letting you get on your way. Keeping points off your CDL and your PSP will keep you on the road.
- Proactively protect yourself with CDL Legal. Attorneys are expensive and costs will go up as the demand grows. Also, choosing the right attorney is tough when you’re under the pressure of dealing with a ticket. CDL Legal takes the guesswork out of it. Our attorney network is nationwide and top-notch. We’ll match you to the right attorney so you can have the best chance of reducing fines or even getting the citation dismissed.
Call us [(913) 738-4836] or fill out our contact form to figure out how to get started.