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Traffic tickets

unsafe lane change

All states have laws that prohibit drivers from making unsafe lane changes. State laws generally require a driver on a road with marked lanes to operate the vehicle within a single lane and to move to another lane only at a time and in a manner that is safe.

This means a driver may not cross more than one lane of traffic at a time, must allow a safe distance between the driver’s vehicle and other vehicles, and must signal the lane change with a blinker, as required by law. The failure to do so may result in a ticket or citation for an unsafe lane change.

The penalty for making an unsafe lane change usually includes a fine and demerit points on your driver’s license or record.

As with many traffic violations, the officer issuing the citation and the prosecutor have significant discretion in determining whether there was a violation of a traffic law and whether the violation constitutes a certain offense, as defined by the state legislature in the traffic code or in a municipal ordinance.

This discretion to issue a ticket or citation and prosecute the charge against the driver is balanced by the discretion of the jury or judge in determining whether the prosecution met its burden of proof sufficient to convict the driver (for a criminal offense) or find the driver responsible (for a civil infraction, violation, or offense).

In Texas, traffic laws prohibit unsafe lane changes, requiring drivers to remain within a single lane and only change lanes when it is safe to do so. Texas Transportation Code Section 545.060 states that a driver must signal their intention to change lanes using their vehicle's blinker and must not move from the lane until the movement can be made safely. Crossing multiple lanes of traffic at once or failing to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles can result in a citation for an unsafe lane change. Penalties for such an offense typically include a monetary fine and may also result in demerit points being added to the driver's license record. Law enforcement officers have discretion in issuing citations, and prosecutors have discretion in pursuing charges. However, a judge or jury ultimately determines whether the evidence presented meets the burden of proof for a conviction or finding of responsibility, depending on whether the offense is considered criminal or civil.

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