Finance and Law

Most Common Traffic Violations

If you’ve ever been behind the wheel in the United States you’ve probably had some experience with the law. Seeing the blue and red lights flashing behind you is an experience best avoided. Traffic violations (and their punishments) run the gamut from minor infractions to major felonies, especially if they involve loss of life or property damage. It’s important to be aware of what violations are most common so you can, at the very least, have a heads up on what the police are typically looking for. The following are some of the most common traffic violations in the US.


If you were to take a poll from nearly every police force across the United States, the number one traffic violation, hands down, is speeding. Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases braking distance. Edward McElroy, a California Highway Patrol officer, notes that officers write tickets in an attempt to control the “mileage death rate” — the number of people who die per freeway mile. It’s a morbid thought, but certainly a worthy goal.Getting Pulled Over

Many police officers agree that there is some amount of “buffer” for speeding; somewhere around 5-7 miles per hour over the posted limit is generally acceptable. Unfortunately for drivers, the buffer is totally at an officer’s discretion. In an interview with Popular Mechanics, former El Paso Policeman Mike Brucks said he would give drivers up to 20 mph leeway if the road was open and straight. He also added that if someone was going entirely too fast, say 196 mph on the open highway, then the officer has to decide if chasing him would cause harm to himself or the reckless driver. Bear in mind that the primary concern most police officers have is the safety of all drivers on the road.

Illegal Cell Phone Use

This one is a bit of a recent phenomenon. As texting has become popular as a means of communication, drivers have more and more distractions behind the wheel. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, there is a range of cell phone laws across the states. Currently, 12 states and Washington D.C. prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Moreover, dating to last October, these laws will be primary enforcement, which means that an officer can you pull you over just for being on a hand-held without any other violation taking place.

Equipment Violations

Having a heavily modified car may be cool in some circles, but it’s also a good way to get a ticket. Violations include having tinted windows, broken headlights, expired tags, and driving with an improper license plate.

Driving While Intoxicated

Titled driving under the influence (DUI) in some places, this is an extremely dangerous crime. Getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or a controlled substance impairs your senses, and is a hazard for you and all other drivers on the road. Of all the violations listed, this often carries the steepest penalties, which may include license suspension, jail time, and heavy fines.

Reckless Driving

This is a broad category for violations. Most commonly it includes stop sign and stoplight violations, improper lane changes, illegal U-turns, following other cars too closely, not driving at the speed of traffic, passing in a no-pass zone, not stopping for pedestrians, driving on the shoulder, and many other violations.

This article was written by Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who hopes to help you understand the law better. He writes this on behalf of Chernoff Law, your number one choice when looking for a trusted Houston DWI attorney. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!