List of Traffic Violations

When you hear the words "traffic violation," chances are you immediately think of a speeding ticket. Tickets do count as traffic violations, but there are also plenty of other ways to get a ticket and fine on the road.

Moving Violations
A moving violation can only be issued if the car is in motion. They generally carry a higher fine than non-moving violations. 

  • Improper Child Restraint: Almost every state mandates specific ways to secure infants and children in a car. Know and understand your state's regulations. Be sure you have an up-to-date car seat for each child and that it is installed properly. While this is seldom a primary offense that will get you pulled over, it can add hefty fines to a traffic stop if the police see a child that is improperly restrained.
  • Defective Headlight or Brakelight: This is a primary offense, which means police will pull you over if they see headlights and brakelights that aren't working. If the bulb has burned out, most police will simply give you a verbal or written warning. If a headlight or brakelight is smashed or otherwise damaged, you're likely to get a ticket.
  • Exhaust: A broken exhaust pipe, broken muffler or performance exhaust system can all be grounds for a fine. Pay careful attention to noise regulations when you travel. Particularly along beaches and in resort areas, communities are cracking down on motorcycles and cars with noisy exhaust systems.
  • Excessive Acceleration: Burning rubber when the light turns green will almost always get you a ticket for reckless operation of a motor vehicle. Fish-tailing around corners or doing donuts in parking lots will also result in a fine.
  • Expired, Improper or Missing Plates: Not only will you get a ticket, your car is likely to be impounded, which adds additional costs. Make sure your plates and vehicle registration are up to date. Police may let you off with a warning for a plate that expired within the last 48 hours if you honestly forgot to renew, but don't expect a judge to show you any leniency if you get a ticket.
  • Expired License: If you are pulled over for a moving violation and present and expired license, you will get a separate fine for driving without a current license. In some states, this is an arrestable offense and your car will be impounded.
  • Following too Close: Driving at a distance of less than three car lengths will result in a fine. Although these tickets are issued most commonly on the highway, they can be issued in residential areas as well.
  • Failure to Yield: Make sure you know who has the right of way at a four-way stop, at traffic circles and at on and off ramps. Police treat this just as harshly as running a red light, so you can expect a hefty fine. 
  • Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle: Always clear the way for emergency vehicles, including police, ambulances and fire engines. If you can't pull over, remain stationary so the emergency vehicle can maneuver around you. In some states, you are now required to slow down and move over one lane on the highway if emergency vehicles or police are responding to an accident.
  • Failure to Signal Turn: The police will pull you over for not using your turn signal.
  • Insufficient Speed: Speeding will get you a ticket, but driving too slowly can get you one as well, unless there is a mechanical problem with your car. Stay above posted minimum speed limits, and use your emergency flashers if a mechanical problem or weather conditions force you to drive slower than the minimum.
  • Improper Passing: Passing on the shoulder, crossing a double yellow line, passing in a no-passing zone or cutting someone off can all result in a ticket.
  • No Seatbelt: Most states require seatbelt use. In some states, you can be pulled over simply for not wearing a seatbelt. Know the rules for your state and make a point of checking the rules in other states before you travel.
  • Speeding: Fines for speeding can double in work zones, school zones and residential areas.
  • Wrong Way: Keep an eye out for one-way streets. Your GPS system can get you into trouble if you follow the directions without looking at where you're going.
  • Weaving: This is the act of switching lanes rapidly to try and move faster than other traffic. Police can charge you with several moving violations, including reckless operation and improper passing, if you're caught weaving. In extreme cases, you may have your license revoked until you complete a traffic school course.
  • Failure to Stop: You must come to a full and complete stop at stop signs and flashing red lights. Even if there's nobody else on the road, stop your vehicle and count to three before you start moving again.

Non-Moving Traffic Violations
While most non-moving violations are less serious then moving violations, they do result in fines. 

  • Parking in Front of a Hydrant: Never park in front of a hydrant, even if you are only going to be inside for a minute.
  • Parking in a No Parking Zone
  • Parking at an Expired Meter: Don't assume that a broken meter means free parking. Most cities now have rules that limit the amount of time you can park at a broken meter.
  • Improper Display of Plate: If your license plate is obscured, damaged or otherwise difficult to read, you could be ticketed. In some states, the vehicle will be impounded.
  • Obstruction of Roadway: Pay careful attention to where and how you park. As a rule, parking is never allowed on state highways and high-traffic roads. Make sure your vehicle isn't blocking driveways, sidewalks or the road. Parking more than six inches from the curb can get you a ticket. Blocking a road or access way will get you towed.
  • Emergency Parking Bans: These are typically enforced during severe storms or winter weather. In addition to a ticket, you can expect your vehicle to be towed and to pay a large fine to get it back.
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