Failure To Maintain Lane
The National Transportation Safety Board reports that ten percent of all roadway accidents are caused by unsafe lane change maneuvers which translate to 530,000 motor vehicle accidents each year. Citations for failure to maintain a lane are particularly common. There are many types of situations including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during which an individual is initially cited with failing to maintain a lane. Individuals who are faced with failure to maintain lane charges frequently benefit from the assistance of skilled legal counsel.
The Danger of Failure to Maintain Lane
The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that a driver’s failure to maintain lane changes can result in particularly damaging consequences. Improper lane changes are reported to be the fourth most common factor contributing to car accidents in the state of Georgia. Lane change accidents occur when two motor vehicles are traveling in the same direction and one vehicle crosses in the path of the other vehicle. In many lane change accidents, drivers have failed to properly examine whether it is safe to cross lanes without colliding with another motor vehicle.
Applicable Law in the State of Georgia
Many individuals in the state of Georgia assume that failure to maintain a lane citations only arise when individuals are determined to be weaving across the road. There are many other situations in which a driver’s behavior can amount to “failure to maintain a lane.”
Law in the state of Georgia dictates that a motor vehicle must be driven as practicably as possible within a single lane and that an individual will not move from the lane until the motor vehicle driver has first determined that movement to another lane can be done so safely.
In many circumstances, Georgia law enforcement has interpreted situations in which a motor vehicle driver lightly brushes the lines of the road without a valid justification to be a failure to maintain a lane charge.
Two of the most common situations in which failure to maintain lane charges are made include when a driver has recently left a bar or club or during traffic accidents.
In addition to staying in one’s lane at all times, there other essential steps that a motor vehicle driver in Georgia must remember to take which includes the following:
- The driver in the middle lane on a multi-lane road has the right of way when passing other vehicles
- The center lane should only be used for the purposes of overtaking or passing another motor vehicle when it is safe to do so,
- Motor vehicle drivers must obey all traffic control devices because failure to obey these devices can result in motor vehicle drivers being deemed at fault.
Causes of Failure to Maintain Lane
There are numerous reasons why motorists might make unsafe lane changes. Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents include:
- Changing into a lane where visibility is impaired, failing to check whether blind spots exist prior to making a lane change
- Drifting into another lane to drive while distracted, driving while fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to check both mirrors prior to making a lane change, changing more than one lane at a time
- Failing to properly align rear view mirrors
- Failing to signal before making a lane change
- Using a cell phone to text or talk while operating a motor vehicle
- Vehicle passengers that distract that motor vehicle driver
- Weathers conditions that leave drivers unprepared for driving conditions
Not only can legal charges result from such an occurrence, when motor vehicle drivers fail to safely change lanes, the drivers can also be held liable for any injuries and damages that might result from a motor vehicle accident.
Individuals who are charged with failing to maintain a lane can expect to face several different types of penalties. These consequences include the following: three points being placed on an individual’s driver’s license, an increase in an individual’s car insurance rate, a maximum of twelve months in jail, and a fine of up to one thousand dollars. A skilled attorney can prove essential in helping to minimize the penalties that may result from these types of charges. In many cases, a skilled attorney can even help individuals avoid these penalties altogether.
There are many potential defenses for motor vehicle driver who fail to maintain a lane. Most defenses regarding unsafe lane changes include either arguing that the law enforcement officer who issued the citation exercised poor judgment or demonstrating the lane change in question was performed in a safe manner. If a motor vehicle driver was far from the location where a motor vehicle driver performed the lane change, an individual can also bring the law enforcement officer’s judgment and doubt into question by suggesting that the law enforcement officer did not have a good view of the incident.
Steps to Take if You Are Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are several important steps that should be made. Individuals should make sure to:
- Ensure that everyone in the vehicle (or vehicle) are safe.
- Check that any involved vehicles are placed out of the way of oncoming traffic if this can be done safely.
- Contact emergency services
- Document all details about how the accident occurred and the resulting damages.
Contact a Seasoned Accident Attorney
Motor vehicle drivers should remember that all it takes to get pulled over for failure to maintain a lane is the wheels of a driver’s motor vehicle tapping the lines of the road. In other situations involving an unsafe lane change and either an accident, driving under the influence, or a second citation, retaining the services of skilled legal counsel can prove essential. Although many failure to maintain lane charges result in minor penalties, there are many different ways that a failure to maintain a lane charge can affect a motor vehicle driver. For motor vehicle drivers who have been charged with failure to maintain a lane, it is a wise idea to immediately contact a knowledgeable accident attorney like the legal counsel at Yeargan, Barber & Kert.