Even relatively minor moving violations can impact your driving record and, as a result, your car insurance rate. Avoid these minor no-no's to help keep your premium nice and low.
(This is the third of a 3-part series on moving violations. For info on more serious violations, visit part 1. For info on moderate violations, visit part 2.)
relatively minor moving violations
Speeding (1–10 mph over the limit)
Generally speaking, the more you speed, the more your ticket will cost. So the penalty for doing 51 in a 45-mph zone would be milder than the penalty for doing 70.
But make no mistake: "little" tickets can add up in a hurry — sometimes to more than just a fine. In Massachusetts, for example, drivers get an automatic license suspension for picking up 3 or more speeding tickets within a year, regardless of speed. And, as you know, suspended licenses don't exactly spell "car insurance discounts."
Seat belt violation
As of 2012, 33 states (plus D.C.) have primary laws requiring that all passengers in a car wear seat belts. Seventeen others have secondary laws, meaning you can be ticketed for a seat belt offense only if you're pulled over for something else.
Seeing how seat belts can reduce your injury risk by up to 65 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it's no wonder enforcing seat belt laws is a priority in so many states. Fines for a first offense can top triple digits in Oregon and Washington.
We've all been there. You're on a deserted road, enjoying a relaxing ride, when you come to a stop sign. Rather than come to a complete stop, you're tempted to slow just a bit and roll on through. But before you do, keep in mind that a small inconvenience now could save you from a huge one later. Tickets for this sort of thing can land in the neighborhood of $235 in some places.
Carpool lane violation
You're late for work. The freeway's backed up. You decide to jump into the carpool lane minus a co-pilot. Is it a moving violation?
In many states, it is — and not a cheap one. California drivers, for instance, can expect a fine of $491 or more.
License restriction violation
Some drivers have restricted licenses, meaning they can drive only under certain conditions. Some common examples are licenses that allow driving only with glasses or during daylight hours. Some drivers convicted of a DUI may be required to have an ignition interlock device.
Violating a license restriction will typically result in a license suspension.
Headlight/tail light violation
There are several ways to get a ticket for lights. One is improper use, which may include driving at night or in poor weather without headlights. Driving with lights too dim or too bright may lead to a ticket as well.
Drivers can also get citations for broken headlights (and tail lights). Generally, a driver's history isn't adversely affected by these fix-it tickets. In many cases, proof showing that the equipment has been fixed may be all that's required to get a citation dropped.
This is another so-called "little" ticket that can be expensive. Drivers caught littering in Florida may be dinged with 3 points.
Other states, like North Carolina, fine drivers $250 to $1,000 for a first ticket and up to $2,000 for the next.
Failure to obey a traffic officer
This one really depends on your state and the circumstance. It can be a relatively small infraction that may not add points or it could be a major one. For instance, in Minnesota failing to obey a traffic officer is considered a misdemeanor but doesn't come with any fines. Michigan, on the other hand, considers it fourth-degree fleeing and eluding and comes with a hefty fine of $2,000.
small violations can make a big dent in your wallet
Though small moving violations may seem harmless, they can cost you in fines and driving record points. And when they're added to your driving record, they can hike up your car insurance premium as well.
Keep your driving record clean and clear and you'll help keep your rates affordable. It's the best way to earn some choice car insurance discounts — plus bragging rights.
Part 1: the most serious moving violations
Read up on the moving violations that are harshly penalized.
Part 2: moving violations of moderate severity
Find out how moderately serious moving violations could affect your driving record and car insurance rates.
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