Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default Negligent Driving Charge for Driving on the Shoulder

    I was attempting to exit a highway during rush hour traffic today. The lane I was in was exit only, and lots of motorists like to use this empty lane to skip ahead of traffic, only to come to a complete stop before they actually have to exit, waiting for someone to allow them to merge back onto the highway. Before I was able to exit, I got stuck behind a number of cars doing exactly that. There were NO cars ahead of them, but they were completely stopped, hoping they could merge and skip ahead of traffic. There weren't many cars ahead of me, so I used the shoulder to go around them (I was only on the shoulder for a grand total of 5-10 seconds). Unfortunately, two state troopers were there waiting for people who were doing just that.

    I was given citations for driving on the shoulder AND negligent driving. I'd be willing to eat the former - although I don't think it's fair - but the latter part, which includes a $140 fine AND two points on my license, seems to me to be too much. According to Maryland state law, Section 21-901.1(b) states:

    "A person is guilty of negligent driving if he drives a motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner that endangers any property or the life or person of any individual."

    I don't feel that anything I did falls into that description. I didn't just swerve carelessly into the shoulder and speed along ahead of traffic; I checked my mirrors, moved as if I were changing lanes, and stayed quite within the speed limit as I passed these vehicles who were stopped. Neither property nor personal safety was endangered. Is it reasonable that I can get this ticket thrown out?

    Also, I wanted to ask about the actual driving on the shoulder violation...The officers were stopped there, on the shoulder, waiting for drivers who used the shoulder to pass the stopped vehicles in the exit only lane. I want to reinforce that there were NO CARS ahead of these stopped vehicles. These are people who are in an exit only lane and are attempting to merge out of it. Even if we assume that these are all nice people and none of them were using the exit only lane to skip traffic, that does not give them the right to stop in the middle of the road, does it? Another Maryland law:

    " 21-804. Minimum speed regulation.

    (a) Slow speed impeding traffic prohibited.- Unless reduced speed is necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle or otherwise is in compliance with law, a person may not willfully drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. "

    These people willfully stopped their vehicles when there were no cars or other obstructions ahead of them. Yes, they were just trying to merge out of an exit only lane, but that's tough crap for them as far as I'm concerned. I understand that presenting this argument in a court would likely be futile, but how can two officers sit there and ignore this blatant impediment of traffic, forcing other motorists to either sit and wait for someone to allow these cars to merge, or break the law to go around them? Would it be worth bringing up in court, if only to get the amount of the fine reduced?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Negligent Driving Charge for Driving on the Shoulder

    "Other people were breaking the law" is not a defense to your choosing to also break the law.

    If you dispute the ticket, you may find that you're able to negotiate a deal whereby you plead to passing on the shoulder and have the careless charge dismissed. It's certainly worth trying. I don't know how persuasive the officers' testimony would be on the issue of careless driving, as I haven't heard their side of things. If it begins, "We were there after a series of accidents...", for example, that wouldn't be particularly good for you.

    What's the statute number for driving on the shoulder?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Negligent Driving Charge for Driving on the Shoulder

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    "Other people were breaking the law" is not a defense to your choosing to also break the law.
    I didn't mean to infer that I believed that. I just felt that the officers were failing to do their job by selecting one traffic violation to enforce while ignoring another. I guess that doesn't make a difference, but it's really unfair.

    If you dispute the ticket, you may find that you're able to negotiate a deal whereby you plead to passing on the shoulder and have the careless charge dismissed. It's certainly worth trying. I don't know how persuasive the officers' testimony would be on the issue of careless driving, as I haven't heard their side of things. If it begins, "We were there after a series of accidents...", for example, that wouldn't be particularly good for you.
    I'm gonna try this one. I actually talked to a cousin of mine who worked as a sheriff for awhile and he said this is likely what will happen, and I'll be okay with that. Good to hear from another source that this is likely.


    What's the statute number for driving on the shoulder?
    I guess you mean the number that's circled on the ticket? It's 21-304(c).

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Discovery: Discovery Request Form for a Negligent Driving Charge
    By dcdc in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-06-2011, 11:49 AM
  2. Traffic Lane Violations: Driving on the Shoulder in Texas
    By Newtons1st in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-25-2010, 06:29 PM
  3. Traffic Lane Violations: Driving on the Shoulder
    By Mitchellxx in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-06-2010, 11:09 AM
  4. Reckless Driving: Reckless Driving, And Negligent Driving
    By Minime88 in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-29-2008, 04:59 AM
  5. Traffic Lane Violations: Driving On The Shoulder
    By oldpines in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-31-2005, 02:03 AM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources