A traffic violation is any violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other violations such as parking violations, equipment violations, or paperwork violations relating to insurance, registration, inspection, etc.
Traffic or moving violations involve fines which must be paid as well and sometimes punitive points assessed to the license of the driver. As a driver accumulates points, he or she may be required to attend defensive driving lessons, re-take his or her driving test, pay additional taxes, or even surrender his or her license. Additionally, drivers with more points on their driving record often must pay more for car insurance than drivers with fewer.
Sometimes traffic tickets are used in a speed trap as a form of fundraising. For example, a local government that is suffering a budget shortfall may ticket more aggressively within its jurisdiction to increase revenue.
The fines for traffic tickets can vary. In Canada, each province is individual in how they treat similar behaviour and each violation usually includes a set fine and demerit points against the driver’s license. For example, a speeding ticket in Ontario of 50+ km over is 6 demerit points against the driver’s licence with the approximate fine calculated as (km over x 9.75) x 1.25, as well it carries a one week automatic licence suspension and car impoundment. In Manitoba speeding in excess of 49km is 8 demerit points and a fine of 557 dollars.
By the way, in Finland, there are specific proportions of the violator’s income and fines: a fine in excess of $100,000 can be assessed to wealthy individuals.
Examples of traffic violations
- speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed
- running a stop sign or red traffic light
- failure to yield to another vehicle with the right-of-way
- failure to signal for turns or lane changes
- failing to drive within a single lane
- crossing over a center divider, median or gore
- driving on the shoulder where it is considered illegal under certain conditions
- failure to use a seat belt
- failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- failure to stop for a school bus when children are boarding or exiting
- failure to secure a load to a truck or lorry
- driving in a car pool lane illegally
- operating a telecommunications device while driving
- driving a vehicle outside the conditions of one’s license
More serious traffic violations include:
- driving under the influence
- careless driving
- street racing