Monthly Archives: November 2015

Construction Zone Traffic Laws

rewIn order to prepare for increased motor traffic during the summer months, the state of Missouri has already started increasing levels of construction and maintenance road work.

There are several important traffic laws to reiterate to drivers to keep everyone safe during this construction season.

Making Merging Move Faster

Merging lanes of traffic on a highway or interstate can be very frustrating for drivers, especially during rush hours and in dense traffic areas. The best way to merge when the roadways are not busy is to merge into the open lane as soon as warning signs start to appear. However, in very congested traffic areas, it is much more efficient to merge in a zipper form at the destination of the merge area in order to reduce traffic build up.

Endangering a Highway Worker

The Highway Work Zone Law was implemented to regulate the crime of endangering a highway worker. If any person creates an offense that endangers a highway worker, but does not injure or take the life of the worker, a maximum fine of $1,000 and four points will be added to the driver’s license.

If the highway worker is injured, the offender shall be fined a maximum of $5,000 and have 12 points assessed to his or her license. However, if the offender takes the life of the highway worker, the offender shall be fined a maximum of $10,000 and have 12 points assessed to his or her license.

Fines and Penalties

The Highway Work Zone Law also increased several of the most recurring offenses’ penalties in order to help protect highway workers. The law states that a person who is convicted more than once with a moving violation will be subject to a penalty of $75.

In addition, the law states that a fine of $300 can be assessed to any person with multiple charges of speeding or passing of another vehicle in any work zone with a worker present (http://www.modot.org/workzones/).

The 2012 “Move Over” law

In 2012, Missouri implemented a law that requires motorists to slow down or move into the other lane when coming upon any sort of parked emergency, law enforcement, or Missouri Department of Transportation vehicle.

This law helps protect both the workers in the parked vehicles as well as the people driving by as it significantly decreases the risk of an accident occurring.

Following these traffic laws and making sure to pay attention in work zones can help make the roads safer for everyone during this construction season.

DWIs Versus DUIs and Other Tickets

4ggIt is scientifically proven that any amount of alcohol consumption affects your coordination, mental thought process, and reaction time, which all affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Many states, including the state of Missouri, have a zero tolerance law that strictly mandates how the police handle certain situations.

What does Zero Tolerance Mean?

A zero tolerance law means that anyone pulled over driving a vehicle whose blood-alcohol level is over the legal limit – in Missouri’s case of .08% – will automatically be charged with a criminal ticket.

This law also severely penalizes anyone under the legal age of 21 caught driving under any percent influence of alcohol or drugs. Anyone under 21 who receives this charge could automatically lose their license and be required to go to traffic school.

The Different Offenses

When charged with this offense, there are several different terms that could be used on your criminal ticket. These are: DWI, which stands for Driving While Intoxicated; DUI, which means Driving Under the Influence; and DUID, which stands for driving under the influence of drugs.

Although each of these charges is fairly similar to the other two, as they all encompass some form of driving illegally while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, the level of severity of the charge differs in certain states. If you live in an area of jurisdiction that classifies these charges separately, here is what the different charges could mean for you:

The DWI

The DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated, is the most serious charge of the three. This charge indicates that the offender experienced obvious impairment, and his or her blood-alcohol level was well above the legal limit.

This charge is very difficult to reduce to a DUI with a plea bargain, as the offender completely disregarded the law and endangered other people.

The DUI

The DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, is a slightly less severe charge than a DWI. The legal technicality of the term DUI indicates that the person charged with this offense had a lower level of impairment than someone charged with a DWI.

This charge means that when the offender was pulled over, he or she was only slightly above the legal blood-alcohol limit. This charge is more likely to be reduced with a plea bargain; however, it is highly unlikely that the offender will walk away scot-free.

The DUID

The DUID, or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, is slightly more difficult to categorize as many states have different laws and regulations. No matter what state you are in, it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the age of 21 with a traceable amount of drugs in your system.

Some states have a “per se” law that makes it illegal to operate any type of vehicle with a detectable amount of drugs in your body, while others have a zero tolerance law that could result in a suspended license. Although Missouri does not have this law, surrounding states such as Illinois do.

Any type of impaired driving is extremely dangerous and can harm yourself and other people. No matter what type of charge you receive, it is very important to acquire legal help. A lawyer is much more capable and qualified to deal with these charges than you are, and he or she has a much better likelihood of reducing a charge.

Self-Driving Car on the Road

feFor most, any time you open a web browser the first thing that you do is Google something. For the last 17 years, Google has had a part in innovating search engines, productivity software, and social networking. Google’s latest endeavor is the creation of the self-driving car. Some people are excited with the idea and some others are not so trusting about it.

Since its announcement in 2012, the self-driving car has been a major topic amongst drivers and pedestrians alike. One of the ideas behind this creation is to take away the car accident related factor of human error; another is to give people chance to be more productive while in commute. Recently Google and Ford Motor Company have agreed to work together on this project and have successfully used a self-driving car to navigate through snowy streets in the northern United States.

However, what does all this mean for the rest of the United States? According to reports there are well over 200,000 car accidents in the southern states every year and there are over 6,000 deaths per year as a result. If tests continue to be successful, the United States can look forward to avoiding maneuvering a vehicle during the harsh weather is also a huge contributor to car crashes and fatalities. Another positive notion is for much older citizens can still maintain their independence although they lose the ability to actively drive.

Some negatives comments and concerns about the self-driving car include individuals not believing they can actually trust the technology to function properly 100% of the time which may lead to a car crash. Other concerns include, the driving software storing personal data could be a violation of privacy, another is how the car can navigate itself through detours and others things that could affect the route taken. Is the self-driving car as safe as testers claim it to be? Many skeptics raise the question on if after the implementing of these vehicles will driving education still be required and will there be classes to learn how to use the self-driving car?

Whatever the opinion is on this matter, only time will tell the outcome. It is projected that the self-driving car will be a part of our lives by the year 2020, hopefully by then this new vehicle can be better understood, save lives, and helps prevent traffic accidents. Contact a car accident lawyer for assistance.

When to Execute a Legal U-Turn

ftMaking a wrong turn or going the wrong way when traveling is almost inevitable. However, knowing when it is legal to make a U-turn – a turn that results in a vehicle reversing its direction of travel – can become quite the challenge.

State Laws

Most states have different rules and laws that regulate this type of turn, making it difficult to know when it is acceptable and when it is not acceptable to execute a U-turn when traveling from state to state.

Safe does not Mean Legal

Most people assume that unless otherwise stated or prohibited – for example by a sign depicting an illegal U-turn symbol – executing a U-turn in a safe, open part of a highway or freeway is legal as long as the vehicle making the turn does not endanger anyone else on the road. Unfortunately, signs that explain the legality of executing a U-turn in a certain area are usually not prominently displayed, if they even exist at all.

To make this law more complicated, states often have regulations that permit local governments to further define the legality of a U-turn in its own city and county area.

Following the Rules

Even if you knew the rules of a U-turn for the state that you pass through while you are traveling, the local police could pull you over and ticket you for making an illegal U-turn for that city.

Although knowing when to execute a U-turn can be challenging, following these guidelines will help reduce the likelihood of breaking a city U-turn law.

1. Never make a U-turn where there is a sign placed in the area or around the area that is prohibiting U-turns.

2. Do not execute a U-turn if you are at the top or bottom of a hill or when going around a curve.

3. Make sure to look around you and check for police officers, and if you see one, try not to execute a U-turn, regardless of legality.

4. When in the middle of the block, do not make a U-turn in urban/residential areas as it is dangerous to the people in the area.

5. Lastly, do not make a U-turn that would require you to go over a solid line on the road.

Of course the easiest way to ensure that you would not get a ticket would be to not execute a U-turn at all. Pulling off the road at the next possible exit, going around the block, executing multiple turns, or rerouting your travel plans with a GPS or map system would ensure that you abided by the laws of wherever you are traveling.