Moving violation

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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,[1] such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration and inspection), parking violations, or equipment violations. For example, the US Department of State makes reference to moving violations in its enforcement guidance.[2]

Moving violations often increase insurance premiums.[3]


While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle's owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.

Moving violations are usually classified as infractions or misdemeanors, but serious violations such as hit and run, driving under the influence, and road rage can be considered felonies.


Moving violation convictions typically result in fines and demerit 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 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.[4][5][6]

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 10 demerit points and a fine of 672 dollars and a Serious Offence Licence Suspension.

Examples of moving violations[edit]

  • speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or (in some jurisdictions) simply driving at an unsafe speed
  • tailgating or 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
  • improper lane usage, such as 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
  • illegal use of 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 (in certain jurisdictions)
  • 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
  • driving without a license or with a suspended license or with a license from another country
  • driving a vehicle in a bus lane or on train tracks
  • failure to stop after a traffic collision or make a report
  • driving on the wrong side of the road, unless there is an obstruction

More serious moving violations include:

Moving violations and driving records[edit]

Exactly how long moving violations stay on your record depends on the law in your particular state. In New York, for example, minor moving violations can stay on your driving record abstract for a maximum of four years.[7] Whereas minor moving violations tend to stay on a person's abstract for only a few years, some serious moving violations are classified as criminal offenses that result in a criminal record that may be maintained for life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Conlon, Joe (Winter 2015). "A Missouri Citizen's Guide to Red Light Camera". Missouri Law Review. 80 (1): 5.
  2. ^ Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions, OFM Enforcement of Moving Violations, accessed 5 September 2022
  3. ^ Palumbo, Aimee; Pfeiffer, Melissa; Metzger, Kristina; Curry, Allison (December 2019). "Driver licensing, motor-vehicle crashes, and moving violations among older adults". Journal of Safety Research. 71: 87–93. doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2019.09.019. PMC 8928098. PMID 31862048. S2CID 209433677.
  4. ^ "Dallas' sheriff hopes patrol merger is the ticket to more revenue | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News". Archived from the original on 2009-03-25.
  5. ^ "Sheriff cuts jail freebies like pickles and ketchup | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News". Archived from the original on 2009-03-27.
  6. ^ Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ McNight, A. James (1988). "Special Report 218: Transportation in an Aging Society" (PDF). Transportation Research Board. National Research Council. p. 114. Retrieved 1 October 2021.