Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Ticket From Another State
October 14, 2014
Question: If I get a ticket in another state is it reported to my home state?
Answer: In most cases, yes. Not only is it reported but your insurance company will also have access to the records.
Forty three states and the District of Columbia belong to what is known as the Driver’s License Compact. The theme of this compact is “One Driver, One License, One Record.” Most, but not all members of the compact treat the violation as if it happened in your home state. That means that points will be assessed and in the case of serious violations such as DUI or vehicular manslaughter, your license will be suspended or revoked.
As I said, most but not all states treat violations as if they happened in the home state. Some states may consider some reported traffic violations as minor and not assign points. Other states may not only treat the violation as more serious but may apply more points to your record than the reporting state would have. New York treats tickets received in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario as a New York violation. All states have agreed to suspend your license if you fail to pay the ticket or appear in court in the state that issued the ticket
Even though they don’t officially belong to the compact, states like Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin may still report traffic tickets to the home state and accept reports of tickets from other states.
From my own experience as a former driver license examiner for the State of Florida, when someone moves to Florida and wants to transfer their license, the first thing the examiner does is to check the applicant’s driving record in their old state. The states communicate with each other.
As a driving school instructor, I’ve had quite a few students in my classes who received their tickets in other states and wanted to remove the points from their Florida driving record.
Insurance companies don’t belong to the compact and it doesn’t matter to them where you got the ticket or whether your home state considers it as a serious violation or not. If there’s a violation on your driving record from any state, they can raise your rates. Your driving record is public information that anyone can access and the insurance companies use that information when setting your rates. The only way to prevent that is if your home state has a law like the one in Florida that prevents them from raising your rates if you qualify to attend traffic school.
Most Expensive Cities For Auto Insurance
October 10, 2014
Insurance.com has come out with a list of the most expensive cities in the US for Auto Insurance. The top five are:
- New York
- Los Angeles
It’s not surprising to see that many of the most expensive cities for auto insurance are also on the list of cities with the least courteous drivers. Read more: Detroit most expensive U.S. metro area for car insurance
Google Glass No Safer Than Smart Phones While Driving
October 9, 2014
We have written about the dangers of Google Glass before but our warning was basically just pure speculation based on years of experience in driving safety and distracted driving issues. Now the research data is in! Researchers from the University of Central Florida and the Air Force Research Laboratory conducted a study on the use of Google Glass while driving and the results aren’t at all surprising.
The researchers set up an experiment with 40 test subjects in their 20s and tested their ability to drive on a simulated driving course. The subjects were tested with both Google Glass and a smartphone. The results showed that Google Glass is no safer to use than a smartphone when it comes to avoiding a collision.
This study comes on the heels of another study released last week that shows that voice activated hands-free mobile devices such as Apple’s Siri are no safer than a hand-held cell phone while driving and, in fact, can be even more distracting.
Several states have passed laws banning the use of Google Glass while driving and more are considering it. Earlier this year a California driver successfully fought a ticket she was issued for using Google Glass while driving because there was, at that time, no law against it.
Read more: Drivers, Don’t Trade in Your Smartphone for Google Glass … Yet
Cyclists And New Road Markings
October 8, 2014
Cyclists use bikes as a way to stay in shape, save money or to help protect the environment. Whatever the reason, cycling is growing in popularity and there are more and more bicycles on the roads. Bike sharing is also growing in popularity and bike sharing programs are showing up on major university campuses and in most of the major cities in the US.
Unfortunately, with the increase in cyclists on the road the number of cyclists killed in traffic collisions is also on the rise. In 2012, 726 cyclists were killed and 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. With both the popularity of cycling and the number of cycling fatalities on the rise, demands are becoming louder to protect cyclists on the road and traffic engineers are looking at new ways to do just that.
Here are a few road markings designed to make the road safer for cyclists that you may already be familiar with or that you may see in the near future.
The first and probably the most familiar type of lane markings are bicycle lanes. These lanes are set aside for cyclists and they are identified by the image of a cyclist. In some places, the lane may be painted green. No parking is allowed in these lanes. You may enter the lane in preparation for a right turn but only after checking to make sure the lane is clear of cyclists that may be coming up from behind.
Sharrows are lanes that are shared by both cyclists and motorists. Motorists need to be careful and understand that cyclists may move into the center of the lane to avoid obstacles or potholes and they may move to the left in preparation for a left turn. They are marked with the image of a bicycle with two chevrons on top.
Advanced Stop Line
The advanced stop line is painted just before the stop line and crosswalk. This area is also marked with the sharrow image. It allows cyclists to to make left turns or to proceed across an intersection in a safer manner. Motor vehicle traffic must stop at the stop line before the bicycle images.
Bike boxes are essentially the same thing as an advanced stop line. They will be painted green. Motorists must stop before the bike box.
Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Pets In Cars
October 7, 2014
Question: Is it unsafe to drive with pets in cars?
Answer: It depends on how you transport the animal. Driving with unrestrained pets in a car can be dangerous for both you and the animal.
No matter how well trained an animal may be, they’re always unpredictable. It’s impossible to tell when something may be so enticing or frightening to an animal that it’s worth jumping out the window or clawing up the driver to escape. I’ll speak from a couple of my own experiences and hard learned lessons.
Many, many years ago we had a small terrier who used to accompany us when we ran errands or traveled. She had a lot of experience in the car and had never been a problem until one fateful day. We were traveling to a garden store that just happened to be across the street from her vet’s office. As soon as I turned the corner, even without looking out the window, she knew we were headed in the direction of the vet and she made a break for it by jumping out the open window into the middle of a very busy intersection. Fortunately, I was able to stop and other traffic cooperated by stopping long enough for me to catch her and get her safely back into the car.
On another occasion, we decided to get a kitten for our daughter. She had chosen a tiny kitten from a litter and we were on our way home on an interstate highway. So far, the sweet, tiny little kitten had remained very calm but, as I approached a toll booth, something spooked him. He raced right up my chest and dug his tiny, very sharp little claws into my face and held on for dear life. Luckily, there was very little traffic and I was already slowing for the toll booth. I had to steer with one hand and try to see around his body as I fought to rip his claws from my face. My three year old daughter thought it was hilarious.
If you’re the type of driver who likes to drive with pets in your lap, you might be heading for a big distraction if that pet wants to suddenly jump up and look out the window or try to escape. If a cat gets spooked in any way, you can count on being clawed as he tries to escape.
Even if the animal is calm and resting, if you have to suddenly hit the brakes, the animal is going to go flying into or under the dashboard; possibly interfering with your control of the gas and brake pedals. Depending on your speed at the time, it could lead to serious injuries for the animal.
Just like people, pets need to be restrained while in a car; either in a carrying case or by use of a halter designed to work with the seat belts. Now, when I travel out of state with my dog, she wears a travel harness and is clipped in to a D-ring in the cargo area behind the back seat. That’s the only way she has ever traveled. She’s used to it and remains very calm on our trips. It’s the best way to travel with a pet for both her safety and mine.