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What are the Different Types of Traffic Violations?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 23, 2024
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Traffic violations are generally divided into two categories: parking violations and moving violations. Moving violations are the more serious of the two, carry stiffer penalties, and occur while the vehicle is in motion.

Among moving traffic violations, speeding is the most common. If the driver's manner of speeding is also posing a threat to the lives of pedestrians or other traffic, he or she might also be charged with reckless endangerment. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also illegal, as is driving a vehicle that is in unsafe condition — for instance a vehicle with a broken windshield. In some states, using a cell phone while driving is illegal unless it is a hands-free style. Other traffic violations include not using a child's safety seat for small children and failing to fasten your safety belt.

Though traffic violations can differ from state to state, following is a list of some common infractions and misdemeanors:

  • Parking illegally, e.g. in a red zone, taxi or bus zone, temporary zone, or in a disabled parking spot without a disabled sticker on your vehicle.
  • Running a red light.
  • Making an illegal turn by turning against a light or against a posted sign.
  • Failing to stop completely at a stop sign before proceeding through.
  • Taking the right-of-way when it belonged to another driver.
  • Changing lanes without using the turn indicator.
  • Using the diamond or carpool lane without sufficient passengers.
  • Driving a vehicle without properly functioning turn signals and brake lights.
  • Driving at night without headlights.
  • Transporting an oversized load in an unsafe manner.
  • Hitting another vehicle, be it parked or moving.

If a driver is ticketed with moving traffic violations, these count as strikes against his or her safety record. Too many strikes within a short period of time can substantially raise the driver's insurance premium, cause the insurance carrier to drop the insured, and even result in suspension of a driver's license.

In the United States, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues booklets that help educate drivers before a license is issued. People must pass a written driving test to earn a learner's permit. The final test requires a driving demonstration with a DMV employee present. Driving school is also an option.

The fines for moving violations can be very hefty and some violations, as in the case of vehicular manslaughter, are felonies. For less serious traffic violations, the offender can sometimes opt for traffic school in order to avoid a strike on his or her record. Traffic school requires several hours of attendance followed by a test. Upon successful completion, the court will remove the violation from record. Fees for traffic school vary and one might be able to petition the court to attend an online traffic school. In most cases the court will still require the offender to be present in court to take the final test. If one opts for traffic school, it must be completed in addition to any fines levied for the violation.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon271248 — On May 25, 2012

I was issued a citation for running a red light by an automated red light enforcement camera, only my husband was driving. If I complete the affidavit of defense, do I have to rat out my husband? I thought husbands and wives did not have to turn each other in.

By anon139058 — On Jan 03, 2011

I passed a red light and hit a cop while intoxicated and only got charge with a dwi first offense and class b misdemeanor. is that a good or bad thing?

By BrickBack — On Aug 24, 2010

Oasis11- That is a funny story. I wanted to say that there are some people that receive misdemeanor traffic violations because they are driving while intoxicated.

These people usually submit to a battery of sobriety tests in order to determine their blood alcohol level.

Most states consider a blood alcohol level of .08% to be intoxicated. However, studies show that driving impairment can begin at .02% blood-alcohol level.

Even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit, if you fail a sobriety test you will be charged with a DUI, which is driving under the influence.

In the state of Florida, you can have your license suspended for six months. They do however; allow convicted drivers the opportunity to restore their driving privileges after the first 30 days of probation.

These people have to go to criminal traffic violations court and seek a traffic violations lawyer to defend them.

I feel that driving under the influence or DUI, should be offered stiffer penalties than just a misdemeanor traffic violation.

This should be considered a felony because you can kill someone or kill yourself. If the punishment were harsher perhaps more people would think twice about drinking and driving.

By oasis11 — On Aug 24, 2010

Cafe41-My husband got a speeding ticket one time, but the funny thing about it was that he got a speeding ticket on his way back from driving school.

When he received his original ticket, he spoke with traffic lawyer that processed the case for him. The traffic violations attorney went to traffic violations court on behalf of my husband and if the police officer had not shown up the judge would've dismissed the case.

However, my husband was given a lesser fine in order to do the driving school in order to avoid points taken off of this license.

He went to driving school, but received another traffic ticket violation for speeding again. The police officer told my husband that he could go to driving school, but when he explained that he just came back from driving school, the police officer just laughed.

There is a limit to how many times you can go to driving school. Usually its within a certain period of time like once or twice within a five-year period. It depends on the municipality.

By cafe41 — On Aug 24, 2010

Whenever you break a traffic violation law you will be issued traffic violation fines depending on the infraction.

Each municipality has their rules for speeding, which are considered moving violations, for not stopping at a stop sign or red light, and for unlawful parking.

Traffic ticket violations are greatest when you speed through a school zone. Driving in excess of the posted school zone speed will automatically result in a $250 fine, a Miami.

This traffic violation law was posted in order to protect children are walking to school. Children have been hurt as a result of overzealous drivers. This is why the law was enacted.

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