Basics of Traffic Tickets in US
Before dwelling in detail about the basics of traffic tickets in US, it is more relevant to learn about their origin.In 1905, it was the State of Indiana that introduced its earliest and the first traffic laws in US. The General Assembly of Indiana passed the first traffic laws to regulate the speed of automobiles in public roadways as follows:
• 8 mph in the business and closely built up portions of any municipality of the state of Indiana.
• 15 mph in other portions of such municipalities
• 20 mph outside side such municipalities.
Gradually, other states followed suit and enacted their own traffic laws with minor variations between them. So as to keep pace with the fast growing modern technology, states of US have also updated their traffic laws. Accordingly, in the year 2009, the speed limits stipulated by various US states had varied between 60 and 80 mph!
Similarly, the history of the earliest introduction of the traffic tickets is also quite interesting.In the year 1908, a New York cop namely Willie Seaman issued the first ever traffic ticket in the form of a summon to one Charles R.Jones, a resident of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, for traveling in a high speed of 39 mph!
However, it was only in 1920s the first traffic laws were introduced on a wider scale in US in the larger interests of the society.
The traffic ticket is issued by a traffic law enforcing authority or a police officer to a person who violates the existing traffic laws. Therefore, the traffic laws passed by each state are meant to regulate the speed of the vehicles, to safeguard the drivers who drive the vehicles, to avert any accident and thereby save the lives of the hapless victims and to avert damages to the speeding vehicles. In other words, the primary purpose of issuing traffic tickets is to deter unsafe driving and to educate and reform bad drivers, who violate traffic laws. Moreover, traffic laws are strictly enforced in the larger interests of the society. In US, more than 90 % of US people above the age of 16 are licensed to drive and mostly more than one car is registered for each of them.
Besides, a study on the enforcement of traffic laws shows, a strict enforcement of the traffic tickets results in increase in compliance to the traffic laws for fear of getting a penalty or punishment. Besides, violation of traffic laws is considered as criminal offence. But, when traffic laws are not enforced strictly compliance decreases when the violators of the traffic laws feel that they can go scot-free for their offences committed against traffic laws.
Generally, traffic tickets are issued for committing the following strict liability offences:
• Speeding: Exceeding the speed limits as prescribed by the traffic laws of a particular state.
• Failure to use appropriate signals or turn signals while driving the vehicle.
• Failure to yield
• Turning into wrong lane while driving
• Driving a car with burned out head lights.
• Parking the vehicle in a handicap spot.
• Overdue parking meters.
Most of the traffic laws of the US states consider the above offences as strict liability offences.
However, disobeying traffic laws has been divided into two types:
Generally infraction of a traffic law is not considered as crime. But violation of a traffic law is considered as crime and it carries stiffer penalties.
Infraction not being an offence can be corrected immediately. For example, while driving a vehicle, a driver must have a valid license and other relevant vehicle records with him, but leaves them at his residence. However, this infraction can be set right immediately.
Violations of a traffic law can be divided into two types:
• Non-Moving or Parking violations
• Moving violations
Parking your vehicle in a no parking area is a non-moving violation.
Violations committed while driving a vehicle are known as moving violations: Most of the strict liability offences are moving violations:
• Speeding: driving your vehicle exceeding the speed limits as stipulated in the traffic law of a particular state.
• Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
• Of late, using a cell phone, while driving a vehicle is considered as a moving violation.
A traffic ticket is a summon issued to a violator of one or more above mentioned traffic violations which contains the following details:
• The date of issue.
• Signature of the issuing authority.
• Details of violations committed by the driver.
• The date on which the offender has to appear in the concerned traffic court.
Each traffic court disposes a traffic ticket as per the traffic laws of a specific state and normally the following punishments are awarded to a culprit:
• Issuing points that will be recorded in the driving license of the driver.
• Suspension of license for a specific period.
• Levying fine.
• Committing to a driving school to undergo training for a specific period.
Since each state has separate traffic laws, rules and regulations, any person who has been issued with a traffic ticket should necessarily engage a traffic laws attorney to conduct his case and get a minimum of punishment. Otherwise, it may lead to more complications. For example, the points imposed by a traffic court will have a direct bearing on the amount of insurance premium that he has to pay for his vehicle. More points mean more premiums for your vehicle insurance.
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