Recently in Traffic Violation 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.

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 22, 2012

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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.

January 30, 2012

Teen Automobile Related Fatalities on the Rise in Virginia

eating while driving.jpgBetween January 1, 2012 and January 24, 2012 there have been 11 teen automobile related fatalities in Virginia. At the same time period in 2011 there were only three. This is a huge increase that could be avoided if certain precautions were taken. The most common factors in the fatal automobile crashes are speed, distractions, alcohol, no use of seat belts and cell phone use.

Virginia safety organizations are urging teen drivers, as well as their parents, to take precautions to prevent further tragedies. Some of the precautions suggested are:
Teens:
- Obey posted speed limits;
- Do not Text, Talk or use handheld devices while driving;
- Do not drive distracted by changing radio stations, eating or by having too many passengers in the vehicle;
- Commit to driving safely;
- Always wear your seat belt.

Parents:
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of speeding and driving distracted;
- Set clear rules for driving and let them know that it is a privilege and not a right. They need to earn the privilege and that there are consequences to their actions;
- Set curfews, passenger limitations and make clear the punishment if these rules are broken.

Schools and Safety Organizations:
- Discuss the increase in teen fatalities, so that they are aware;
- Educate students on safe driving practices through interactive methods. Use visual displays, videos, guest speakers and programs;
- Post seat belt reminders and no cell phone use signs all over school property and all parking areas.

For more safety tips and information, visit the following websites: www.yovaso.net and www.blueridgecrashteams.org

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 14, 2011

Fatal Crashes on the Rise In Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Anne Arundel County, Maryland has had eight pedestrians and one bicyclist killed by motor vehicles so far this year. A study conducted by the State Highway Administration between 2006 and 2010 reported that 9 pedestrians were killed in 2006, 13 in 2009 and 12 in 2010. None were killed in 2007 or 2008. The number of pedestrians injured between 2006 and 2010 was reported to be 197.

The Anne Arundel Police will therefore start to stop drivers and pedestrians who violate the rules of the road, which include; jaywalkers, hit and run drivers, drivers who ignore bicycle lanes and drivers who run red lights and stop signs. Justin Mulcahy, Anne Arundel Police spokesman, said, "The goal is education and enforcement." The most troubling of these situations are hit-and-run drivers, because the drivers who flee the scene after a pedestrian is hit may be able to aid the pedestrian and keep the person from dying.

The roads where vehicle have struck pedestrians and bicyclists will be targeted, mostly. These areas include Hospital Driver near Crain Highway in Glen Burnie, Maryland, Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena, Maryland and Jumpers Hole Road and Ritchie Highway. Other areas will also be in routes of patrol, but these are the major areas were fatal accidents have occurred in Anne Arundel and Baltimore City, Maryland.

September 6, 2011

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

Pedestrian Walking.jpgCrosswalk.jpg
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