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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Ticketed for Following Too Closely - Is It Worth Fighting

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Colorado

    I was recently cited for Following too Closely. The officer told me I was going 64 and was 0.8 seconds behind the vehicle in front of me. The speed limit was 65. At the particular moment he observed me, I suppose I may have been that close. If my math is correct, 0.8 seconds separated us by approx 75 feet or 5-6 car lengths.

    Here is how I saw it play out. I was traveling eastbound in moderate traffic. Road conditions were dry and it was a sunny morning. On this highway, there are two bridges that cross over it. 3/10's of a mile separate the two bridges. The officer (or a officer) was on the 2nd bridge facing south. His passenger side seat was nearest the approaching eastbound traffic. Approaching traffic would be blind to him until after we passed under the 1st bridge. As I got to the 1st bridge, another vehicle changed lanes in front of me and began accelerating. We both saw the officer on the bridge at the same time. At that time, there was approximately 10-11 car lengths between us. I would estimate the other vehicle was traveling between 80-85. When I saw the cop, I glanced at the speedometer and was just under 70. The vehicle in front of me hit his brakes hard and rapidly slowed down to approx 60. I responded and slowed down accordingly. The closest I got to him was perhaps 4-5 car lengths and was able to adjust to his changing speed. I knew the reason he was slowing down.

    I figured this was a speed trap and anticipated seeing a couple cop cars lined up on the on ramp beyond the bridge. There were none. About 2 1/2 miles later, I saw his flashing lights in my rear view a far distance back. The vehicle in front of me (he was approx 1/8 mile ahead) saw them too and slowed down and pulled off onto the right hand shoulder. Three or four cars passed him. I moved to the right lane to allow the officer to pass me, but lo and behold he was pulling me over. The other driver wiped his brow and merged back into traffic. This is a 4 point violation and a fine of $155. If I pay it by a certain date, it would be reduced to a 2 point defective vehicle.

    What I do not know is if the officer on the bridge is the same officer that pulled me over. He did say that was the location I was observed though.

    I am considering fighting this ticket. I believe driving is a continuous event requiring you to respond to different variables. Following too closely is something that should occur over a period of time and not observed at a particular moment in time. When he observed me, I was already responding to the change in velocity of the car in front of me. Is there a better defense to use for this infraction? There were also other SUV's of similar size and color that passed under that bridge within seconds of me too. Some turned off prior to his approach. Is it possible he had the wrong vehicle?

    I would also consider a different point or less and reduced fine. Is there a proper way to request that? Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Tacoma, WA

    Default Re: Is It Worth Fighting

    Yes, I would say that this ticket is worth fighting. You explain the scenario very well in your post and should explain it just that way in court (except leave out the part where you were doing 70 - while I doubt that a new infraction would be charged in court, it's probably not a good idea to admit to it in front of the judge). Explain that you were not following too closely. You were, in fact, following a safe distance behind and your ability to safely adjust to a rapidly decelerating vehicle in front of you shows that. Your proximity to the other vehicle was the result of your safe response to that change in the conditions, not an indication of an unsafe driving behavior.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    CT & IL

    Default Re: Is It Worth Fighting

    You are not going to win making out arguments as to what is a proper following distance ... you are not an expert.

    You may win by making or showing that the officer cannot show what a proper following distance should have been. The 2 second rule? Its a myth ... has no basis in fact nor of law.

    You should stake your claim with a summary judgment or motion to acquit after the state rests its case. You do not want to take the stand of give testimony.

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