Recently in Traffic Citations Category

July 2, 2013

New Texting While Driving Law in Virginia As of July 1, 2013

Texting while driving has become a primary offense in Virginia as of July 1, 2013, which means police can pull motorists over if they see them texting, and drivers with provisional licenses will face changes in the limits on how many passengers may ride with them at one time. The new texting while driving law will allow police to pull over and ticket offenders and it will also stiffen the fines for offenders. A warning may also be issues, but that is left up to the officer to decide.

Also, drivers under the age of 18 who have had provisional licenses for at least a year will be allowed up to three passengers younger than 21, but only when going to or from school activity, with passenger 21 or older in the front seat or in an emergency. In other words, if you've had your license less than a year, only one person under the age of 21 can ride with you at a time unless they are family or if it's a result of a school activity or function.

August 23, 2012

New Laws Implemented for Scooter and Moped Riders in Maryland

As of October 1, 2012 all Scooter and Moped Riders will have to follow new laws being implemented in the state of Maryland. The new law going into effect will require all motor scooters and mopeds to be titled and insured, and all operators and passengers of scooters and mopeds must wear helmets and eye protection at all times.

Since the new law requires all scooters and mopeds to be insured, they must be insured with at least the minimum vehicle liability insurance for the state of Maryland. Riders must also, at all times, carry their proof of insurance whenever operating their scooters and/or mopeds.

Further titling information will be available through the Motor Vehicle Administrations (MVA) website starting October 1, 2012.

Maryland law enforcement officers have received training regarding the new laws going into effect and therefore, Scooter and Moped drivers should expect to be stopped and/or issued citations and/or warnings if they violate the new law, as of October 1, 2012.

For more information, please visit the mva website at http://www.mva.maryland.gov/

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.

May 24, 2012

88 Traffic Cameras to Be Added to the Streets of D.C.

Speed camera.jpgOn May 18, 2012, the D.C. Council approved the implementation of 88 more traffic cameras in the District of Columbia. These new high tech cameras will not only ticket drivers who run red lights and speed, but will now also ticket drivers who block crosswalks and /or speed through green and yellow lights. The fines can be anywhere between $75 and $250.

To date, the District of Columbia has 78 traditional cameras that generate about $55 million a year and with the addition of these new 88 high tech cameras it is expected to generate another $25 million a year. Therefore; there will be 166 cameras in the District of Columbia and $80 million in revenue a year.

Therefore; slow down and don't block the box while driving in D.C., or get ready to pay.

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.

October 3, 2011

New Traffic Laws Implemented in MD As of October 1, 2011

Distracted Driving.jpgAs of October 1, 2011 Maryland Police Officers are allowed to pull drivers over for text messaging. Sending, receiving and reading text messages while behind the wheel will now be considered a primary offense. Which means, that Police, can now pull over and ticket drivers who are caught sending, receiving or reading text messages without their needing to be any other offense committed. Emergency 911 text messaging is exempt from this new law.

Under the new text messaging law, violators, can be fined up to $70 and receive one point toward suspension of a driver's license. If, an automobile accident or pedestrian/automobile accident is resulted from text messaging the fine will increase to $110 and three points towards the suspension of a driver's license.

This same law is in effect in the District of Columbia, but it is still only a secondary offense in Virginia.

Another new Maryland traffic law going into effect as of October 1, 2011, is that criminal prosecution will be allowed of drivers who are considered negligent in pedestrian and bicyclists deaths. Under this new traffic law, it will be considered a misdemeanor for a person to cause the death of another as a result of the person's driving, operating or controlling a vehicle in a criminal negligent manner.

These two new Maryland traffic laws are being implemented because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 20 percent of crashes in 2009 were cause by distracted drivers, of which, 995 fatal crashes involved drivers distracted by cell phone use.

September 6, 2011

Jaywalkers Will Be Given Tickets in Montgomery County as of September 2011

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It was announced Friday, September 2, 2011 by Montgomery County, Maryland officials that there will be a zero-tolerance program to crack down on minor moving violations for drivers and for pedestrians. Such moving violations include: failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and jaywalking.

Drivers who block pedestrian crosswalks, fail to yield to pedestrians, run red lights, do not use turn signals and fail to use their windshield wipers in the rain will be ticketed. Pedestrians, on the other hand will be ticketed if they jaywalk, which is failing to cross at marked crosswalks, fail to obey crosswalk signals and for walking diagonally across intersections.

Each violation will have a fine of $50. The citations/tickets will be issued in high traffic areas and high incident areas, were police officers are more likely to enforce the law. The high incident areas include Piney Branch Road, Wisconsin Avenue, Georgia Avenue, Rockville Pike, Four Corners, Reedie Drive, Randolph Road and Connecticut Avenue.

This crack-down comes due to the fact that between January and June of this year, four pedestrians were killed and 174 collisions involved pedestrians in Montgomery County. In 2010, CountyStat (an oversight department for the county government) reported that there were 436 vehicle collisions with pedestrians and 13 pedestrians were killed. Montgomery County officials also distributed brochures and warned pedestrians of jaywalking in order to improve pedestrian safety. In 2010 alone, Montgomery County spent $8.5 million on pedestrian safety. Therefore, follow the law and remember that your safety on the road, be it as a driver or pedestrian, is your responsibility.

July 27, 2011

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

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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

July 5, 2011

New Traffic Law in Virginia Effective July 1, 2011

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Virginia drivers, under the age of 21, could have their license suspended for a year if they get behind the wheel after drinking alcoholic beverages. These underage drinkers and drivers will face stiffer penalties for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or more. Violators will have their license suspended for a year and will receive either a fine of up to $500 or 50 hours of community service.

June 14, 2011

Hand-held Devices Primary and Secondary Laws for the District of Columbia, MD and VA

Man talking on the phone while driving.jpgIn order to make the roads safer, hand-held devices and/or texting have been banned from 33 states on the District of Columbia. Each of these states and the district have specific laws, and they are listed below. Some are primary law and some are secondary laws. A Primary law means that a police officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other traffic offense taking place. A Secondary law means that a police officer can only give you a ticket if you have been pulled over for another driving violation. Novice drivers are those individuals under the age of 18 with learner's permits and/or individuals with provisional licenses.

In the District of Columbia:
Primary Law:
- Handheld ban for all drivers;
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers;
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers;
- Ban on texting for all drivers.

In Maryland:
Primary Law:
- Ban on texting for all drivers;
Secondary Law:
- Handheld ban for all drivers effective October 1, 2010;
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers.

In Virginia:
Primary Law:
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers;
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers;
- Ban on texting for all bus drivers;
Secondary Law:
- Ban on texting for all drivers

May 9, 2011

Cameras Being Placed on Maryland School Buses

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In a study conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education, in February 2011, there were 7,028 violations recorded during one single day, for drivers who illegally passed stopped school buses with flashing lights. The study was conducted on 65% of Maryland's bus drivers. 4,000 of these violators were oncoming drivers, who failed to stop. 2,665 drivers passed the buses from behind on the driver's side and 366 drivers passed the buses on the passenger side.

Violating the law in Maryland, currently has a fine of up to $1,000 and three points on your driving record, if a police officer stops you, after failing to stop at least 20 feet from the school bus that has the flashing red lights operating.

Therefore, a new legislation is being passed in Maryland, where cameras would be placed on the buses by county police and the department of education to catch these violators. The violators would be fined $250. No points would be added to ones driving record and it would not be considered a moving violation, but the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) could refuse to register or suspend the registration of vehicles in cases where the fines we unpaid.

March 7, 2011

Fatal Crashes in DC and MD Down, But Up in VA

A report published in February 2010 shows, that in the last five years, fatal crashes at intersections with traffic lights have declined in Maryland and the District of Columbia, but have risen in Virginia. Experts have made the assumption that the drop in fatal crashes in MD and DC are due to the use of red-light cameras.

In Northern Virginia, only Arlington County and Falls Church, currently use red-light cameras. Between 2005 and 2009, fatal crashes in Virginia have increased. In 2005 only 39 fatal crashes occurred, but in 2009, there were 51 fatal crashes. Therefore, other counties in Virginia are seeking state approval to install more red-light cameras.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), between 2004 and 2008, 159 lives were saved in 14 cities nationwide by the use of red-light cameras. When red-light cameras are used for safety reasons and not just to generate revenue they have shown to save lives. People have a better understanding now of how important it is to not run a red light. The use of red-light cameras makes people drive safer and avoid running red-lights, and therefore, save lives. It is the heavy use of these cameras in Maryland and the District of Columbia that have caused the decline in fatal crashes. It is imperative that other cities and counties in Virginia do the same.

October 25, 2010

5 Tips to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

5 Tips to keeping teen drivers safe while driving:
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1. Buckle up - make sure a seat belt is worn at all times when behind the wheel. The AAA-Mid Atlantic has done extensive research and has proven that when a lap and/or shoulder belt is used it reduces your risk of being involved in a fatal traffic accident by 45%.

2. Passenger Limit - the fewer passengers in a vehicle the more attentive the teen driver will be while driving. The fewer passengers in a vehicle the fewer distractions the teen driver has and the safer he/she will drive.


3. Maintain Speed Limit - speed limits are determined by road conditions and teen drivers must know to obey the posted speed limits, especially during inclement weather conditions.

4. Do not use cell phone while driving - In the state of Maryland, it is now illegal for anyone under the age of 18 with a provisional driver's license to talk on a cell phone while driving. MD, DC and VA also have strict laws on texting while driving. Therefore, it is best to just have the teen driver not use a cell phone for any purposes while driving; and

5. Do Not allow Driving at night - Studies by the AAA-Mid Atlantic and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the most dangerous time for new drivers to be on the road is at night. Therefore do not allow your teen to drive at night unless its an emergency.

August 11, 2010

Child Booster Seat Law In Maryland

Child Booster Seat.gifEffective June 30, 2008, the state of Maryland, put into effect a New Child Booster Seat Law, which requires all children in Maryland to ride in an approved child booster seat until the age of 8, reach a height of 4'9", or weigh over 65 pounds. This new law also requires that children between the ages of 8-16 be secured in seat belts. Also no child under the age of 16 is allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks.

Booster seats are intended to provide a platform that lifts the child up off the vehicle seat in order to improve the fit of the child in the adult safety belt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. The use of child booster seats for children ages 4-7 reduces the risk of injury from a car accident by 59% compared to using a seat belt without a booster seat.

Each year, an average of 500 children ages 4-7 die and thousands more are injured as a result of automobile accidents. According to the Partners for Child Passenger Safety, booster seats can substantially reduce the risk of death and injury to children through the age of 7. The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency's National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats states that only 25 % of children were properly secured in a booster seat.
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Here are some helpful ways to determine when a child is ready to move from a child booster seat to a regular seat, according to the Safety Belt Safe and Safe USA.:

- the child, seating flush against the back of the seat, can bend his/her knees over the seat edge comfortably;
- the should belt rests between the neck and shoulder when seated;
- the lap belt is across his/her lap, not riding up on the abdomen or down on his/her thighs, when seated;
- the child is mature enough to remain in the correct position for the duration of the ride.

The fine for violating the law is $25 in the state of Maryland. 17 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia have implemented the new booster seat law.


July 26, 2010

Ticketed in Maryland: What Are Your Options?

Once the ticket has been written, you have two easy steps you can take: Pay the ticket or appear in court.
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When you are issued a ticket and the officer checks the "Notice to Appear" box, you have three of the following options:
- Plead "guilty" and pay the fine. Be aware however, that a plea of guilt results in the charge becoming part of your driving record. You have 15 days to pay the ticket. If the ticket is not paid within 15 days, you will automatically receive a trial date set by the court.
- Wait for trial notice and appear in court. At trial, you and the officer that issued the ticket have the opportunity to appear in court and testify in front of a judge. If you are found guilty, you have the right to an appeal within 30 days. If you do not appear at your trial, the Motor Vehicle Administration will suspend your driver's license.
- Plead "guilty with an explanation". This option gives you the opportunity for a hearing. At the hearing you can request that the fine be reduced or waived.

"Must appear" tickets are given for more serious infractions, such as, driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, driving on a suspended license, etc. , according to the District Court of Maryland.

The Maryland General Assembly has passed a new law that will come into effect on January 1, 2011. This new law requires anyone who wants a trial to formally request one. The state will no longer automatically send you a trial date notice for a traffic violation. Once the law goes into effect, you have 30 days to respond by either, paying the fine, requesting a hearing or requesting a trial date. When you request a trial date, the District Court will give you a date and time to show up in court, in front of a judge. You may bring witnesses and any evidence to prove your case.

The previous law was changed because the courts were receiving complaints from various jurisdictions about officers wasting time appearing at trials where the defendants did not appear. The new law states that failure to take one of the above options means the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) can and will suspend your license.