What are the Different Types of Traffic Infractions?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 February 2020
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There are many types of traffic infractions a person can commit, such as operating defective equipment or failure to yield. What is considered a traffic offense in one place may not be so in another place or it may have a different title. For example, in some places, improperly speeding past another vehicle may be called improper passing and in others it may be considered improper overtaking. The consequences for committing traffic infractions can also vary and may include fines, vehicle impoundment, and incarceration.

Running a red light is an example of an offense with terms that vary from one place to another. In some places, once a person stops at a red light, she is permitted to make a right hand turn even if the light is red. In other places, this is strictly prohibited and can result in a ticket and fines. People can also be charged with this offense for continuing through an intersection without stopping while the light is red.

In many places, driving or transporting passengers without safety belts secured is a traffic offense. This was once a secondary offense in many places, meaning a person could only be charged if he were stopped for another infraction. Numerous jurisdictions have changed their laws, however, to make this a primary offense, allowing a person to be stopped solely for that reason.


Drag racing, sometimes referred to as contest racing, is generally one of the more serious traffic infractions. This is due to the high probability that someone could be hurt or killed. The people who are injured or placed at risk are often innocent bystanders. In many jurisdictions, this offense is treated harshly and may result in imprisonment.

When emergency vehicles are en route, laws often require other drivers to yield and allow them the right of way. Failure to do so can lead to conviction of a traffic offense. These laws are generally meant to act as public safety measures because emergency vehicles are manned by individuals often engaged in life-saving tasks. There are numerous other types of failure to yield traffic infractions. These include exiting private property without proper yielding and disobeying signals provided by a traffic patrol officer.

In most jurisdictions, on certain areas of the highway, one vehicle may be allowed to pass another. There are generally rules dictating how this should be done. When those rules are not followed, individuals may be charged with traffic infractions such as improper passing or improper overtaking of another vehicle.

For a vehicle to be roadworthy, it usually must meet certain standards. For example, signal lights should be functioning and tires should have sufficient tread. When these standards are not adhered to, a person may find herself charged with operating defective equipment.


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