Recently in Driving Record Category

June 26, 2012

How to Tell if a Traffic Ticket Will Raise Your Insurance Rates

Here are three things that must happen in order for an automobile insurance company to raise your rates, once you have been issued a traffic ticket/citation:

1) The ticket must show up on your motor vehicle record (MVR);
2) Your state must allow insurance companies to penalize you for the violation, and
3) Your Insurance company must consider the violation a risk factor

Automobile insurance companies won't consider traffic violations/tickets that do not appear on your MVR. MVR's usually only reflect moving violations that endanger lives or property. Such violations include: running red lights, changing lanes without caution, speeding, DUI/DWI, reckless driving, etc..

If the violation appears on your MVR and your automobile insurance company finds out about it, your rates usually increase about 5% for the first ticket, but if you have various violations on your MVR, then your rates could go up about 20% or more. Multiple violations reveal a pattern of bad decisions and behavior as a driver and make you a higher risk to your automobile insurance company.

March 22, 2012

Ignition Interlock Device.jpg
As of July 1, 2012, in the state of Virginia, every first time drunk-driving offender will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their automobile. The ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer in your vehicle that prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver fails the on-board alcohol breath test. In Virginia, the device is set to fail if the reading is above 0.02 percent blood alcohol content. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets the standards for the device and it varies from state to state. The device is quite small and integrated into your automobiles starting mechanism.

This new punishment bill for drunk drivers was approved by over 80% of legislators in Virginia, making the state one of the 15 states that already require mandatory interlock ignition devices for first time drunk driving offenders. In Virginia alone there were over 30,000 DUI and DWI convictions, out of which most offenders had a blood alcohol content of 0.14, in 2010. As for automobile accidents: alcohol related crashes were about 7% of total accidents, but made up about 37% of fatal accidents in Virginia, in 2010.

The Guidelines for the new law require that:
- A judge will order the installation of the ignition interlock device. After which, the court clerk will register the court order with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which will restrict the defendants driver's license and then the driver must show proof that the ignition device was properly installed in their vehicle, within 30 days of the court order.
- The court will revoke the driver's restricted license if the offender does not install the device within the 30 days after the court order is made and if the device is not properly maintained and monitored.
- An electronic log of all breathalyzer test readings will be maintained by the device. Should the offender fail any of the tests, both random and initial starter tests, the vehicle's horn will sound, repeatedly, and the lights will flash.
- The device must remain in the offenders' vehicle for 6 consecutive months without a failed breathalyzer test result and the offender may not drive any other vehicle without the device.
- After a second DUI/DWI conviction, every vehicle registered and owned by the offender must have a device installed.

In addition to the ignition interlock device, the following are also consequences of drunk-driving punishments in Virginia:
- Suspension, restriction and or revocation of the offenders' license
- Jail or prison time
- Fines
- Community service
- Probation
- Alcohol education
- Criminal record
- Treatment
- Vehicle impoundment, and
- Repayment of costs incurred by the state for state property damage, police costs and fire/emergency services

Therefore; if you or a loved one is arrested for and/or charged with DUI or DWI, you must contact my office to discuss your legal rights and discuss a plan of defense.

March 12, 2012

Should Smoking Be Banned in Vehicles with Children Under the Age of 8 in Maryland?

Cigarette.jpgVarious studies have linked secondhand smoke to asthma and other chronic illnesses in children, therefore; the Maryland Senate opened discussions in late February 2012, in which a Ban on smoking inside vehicles with child passengers would be put into legislation. If passed, the new bill would fine drivers and passengers up to $50 if they are caught smoking in a vehicle with a passenger 8 years old or younger, but it would not be considered a moving violation and would not add points to a persons' driving record.

The bill would reduce the number of long-term illnesses caused by and associated with secondhand smoke and it would also lower the state's medical costs.

Studies have shown that secondhand smoking is more harmful in cars than in other areas and locations. The toxicity levels have sometimes reached 10 times greater than those deemed acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Children exposed to smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than babies who are not exposed to smoke. These babies have also been shown to have weaker lungs and increased risk of other health problems because they have been exposed to smoke. Also, children exposed to secondhand smoke experience more severe and frequent asthma attacks and are at a higher risk for ear infections then those not exposed to secondhand smoke.

Over 4,000 different chemicals have been identified in secondhand smoke and over 40 of these chemicals have shown to cause cancer, therefore; children exposed to secondhand smoke are being poisoned and have no choice in the matter. It is up to the parent and/or guardian to keep children safe and healthy and therefore; bills like this one should be passed.

August 12, 2011

Emergency Contact Information Database Now Available in Maryland

Drivers in the state of Maryland can now electronically store emergency contact information onto their driving records at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. This information will help police officers and other law enforcement officials contact family members of people involved in serious and fatal automobile accidents quicker.

Contact information can be uploaded by visiting the MVA website at www.mva.maryland.gov/emvastore/ or by visiting any MVA kiosks located at both full and express MVA locations. Any Maryland driver with a valid Maryland driver's license or state issued identification card can add up to three emergency contacts. The contact information is safely stored and is only accessible to law enforcement officials.

In order to upload your contact information online; you will need the following:
- an email address or phone number
- driver's license number
- date of birth
- last 4 digits of your Social Security number

Eight other states have the same type of emergency contact program to date. Some of the states that do not do offer a downloadable emergency contact card that people can carry with them at all times.

July 27, 2011

New Fines for Parking Violations in Havre de Grace, Maryland are Proposed

No Parking Sign.jpg

City of Havre de Grace, Maryland, New Parking Fee Schedule is as Follows:

Handicapped Parking $125
Driving over curbs or sidewalks $100
Imitation of Signs of Signals $100
Vehicles Display of Repair on Streets $100
Fire Lane $50
Too Close to Fire Hydrant $50
Abandoned Vehicle $50
Parking at Yellow/Red curb or "No Parking Zone" $25
Time Limit Violation $25
Parking Facing the Wrong Direction $25
Prohibited Parking on City Property $25
Angled Parking $25
Commercial vehicle in Residential Zone $25
Parking on a Sidewalk $25
Other Parking Violations $25
Interference with Traffic control devices and markings $25
Failure to comply with signs, signals and directions $25
Obstruction of Intersections, Crosswalks or Sidewalks $25

December 20, 2010

Speeding Tickets: Do They Follow You From State to State?

Q: Speeding Tickets: Do Speeding Tickets Affect Your Driver's License Status in another state?
A: Yes, and here is how:

There are three major databases that keep track of your driver's license information: the National Driver Register (NDR), the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC).
The NDR was created by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2000. The organizations primary purpose is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. This includes both commercial drivers and regular drivers. The list keeps track of drivers who have had their licenses revoked, suspended or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations. The data is collected and submitted nationwide to the NDR and every states as well as the District of Columbia is obligated to check the NDR before issuing out a drivers license.

The DLC and NRVC are responsible for how your tickets actually follow you.

The NDR, DLC and NRVC are products of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). This organization is a non-profit organization and it is tax-exempted. The AAMVA develops programs in motor vehicle administration, law enforcement and highway safety. Though the organization forms policies for such things are laws against radar and laser detector use, it is up to each individual state to ratify and join any provision.

The DLC is responsible for making a violation in another state effective/equivalent to a violation in your home state. For example, if your license was suspended in Virginia and you currently live in Maryland, your license will also be suspended in Maryland and points will be issued to your driving record.

The NRVC works similarly than the DLC, except that it will not add points to your driving record. If we follow the example above and you get a ticket in Virginia and you live in Maryland and do not pay the ticket, Maryland will suspend your license until you handle the issue in Virginia, without adding any points to your driving record.

A new organization will be forming called the Driver License Agreement (DLA). Any state that becomes a member of the DLA will submit to its regulations. The DLA will require all member states to take action even if the home state doesn't have the same statute under which you were ticketed out of your home state. For example, if you are issued a careless driving citation in Virginia but your home state does not have such a violation, then your home state will look for the closest equivalent citation it could issue and assess points and penalties based on that. The AAMVA is working to make the DLA international. In the near future the DLA will include South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

The DLA also requires that all member states make all information available to non-member states as well. Though the DLA is in its early stages, it is inevitable that all states within the US, Canada and Mexico will become members.