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A moving 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 motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration, inspection, etc.), parking violations, or equipment violations.
In theory, moving violations are more likely to directly cause physical harm to persons and property. The other forms of violations include:
- equipment violations that cause theoretical risk (nonfunctional taillight)
- paperwork violations like failure to maintain insurance, expired registration.
While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle's owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.
The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover (regardless of type of citation issued, if any), are violations of the speed limit. Measurements of motorist speed throughout time have found many roadways where compliance with speed laws is very low, making many motorists liable to be pulled over at the discretion of law enforcement.
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.
In the United States, citation fines can vary widely between jurisdictions for the same behaviour, usually between $25 and $1000. In countries such as Finland, however, they are specific proportions of the violator's income, and fines in excess of $100,000 can be assessed to wealthy individuals. 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 49 km is 8 demerit points and a fine of 557 dollars.
Examples of moving violations
- speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed
- failing to maintain an Assured Clear Distance Ahead (ACDA)
- 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
- window tints and obstructions
- 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 (in jurisdictions that prohibit this)
- driving a vehicle outside the conditions of one's license
More serious moving violations include: