What constitutes a marked lane violation?

Disobeying any permanent or temporary pavement marking can get you stopped and ticketed. Possible violations include crossing a double yellow line in a no-passing zone, straddling a single white line that divides traffic traveling in the same direction, and continuing to drive straight ahead when lane markers curve or slant.

What do different lane markers mean?

As already noted, double yellow lines mean you cannot pass or cross over into an adjoining lane. Here are explanations of five of the other common lane markers:

  • Single solid white line--passing discouraged, reducing speed may be necessary
  • Single broken white line--lane changes permitted at all times
  • Single broken yellow line -passing permitted
  • Single solid yellow line with a broken yellow line -no passing and stay to the right of the broken line
  • Double broken yellow lines -center lane can be used for turning from either side of the road

Drivers also need to make sure to use designated turn lanes correctly and to not go outside the leftmost lane marker onto the shoulder or onto the median.

Do I need to cross a lane marker improperly in order to get pulled over for a lane violation?

No. A police officer can stop you for drifting from side to side within a lane and for cutting off another driver when making a lane change. Failing to use your turn single to indicate a lane change can also lead to a traffic stop and a ticket.

If the road has no lane marking, can I still get ticketed for a lane violation?

Yes. Ohio law requires drivers to keep as far right as they safely can and to drive "as nearly as is practicable, entirely within a single lane or line of traffic." In other words, going down the middle of a country lane can earn you a ticket.

Do I just need to worry about lane lines and keeping right?

No. Drivers must obey all arrows, crosswalks, stop bars, and traffic signs regarding lane closures and traffic flows. Ignoring any of these instructions for how to use the road may cost you even if it is not ticketed as a marked lane violation.

What is the basic penalty for committing a marked lane violation?

A first-time conviction or guilty plea carries a small fine that generally amounts to less than $200 with court and administrative fees. A two-point penalty is also assessed against your driver's license.

Multiple lane violation charges within the same year get prosecuted as misdemeanors that carry higher fines and the risk of jail time.

Why do police pay so much attention to whether drivers follow lane markings?

Primarily, they are watching for signs that people are driving drunk or stoned. Weaving, drifting, and driving off the side of the road are three of the main indicators police use to make stops for suspicion of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI).

A traffic stop prompted by a perceived failure to stay in your lane can also end with a charge of reckless operation or driving while distracted by texting, using a cell phone, or looking at an electronic device.

Should I fight a ticket for a marked lane violation?

These tickets can be highly contestable. You should, at a minimum, determine whether video evidence of the purported weaving or unsafe lane change exists before agreeing to pay a fine. Dashboard cameras in police cruisers and traffic monitoring devices along the road are not always switched on, and the video they do capture can often be of questionable quality. Without solid evidence, a court will have to decide whether a lane violation occurred based only on descriptions of what happened.

Contact Campbell Law if you believe you have been ticketed unfairly or in error. April Campbell, our lead attorney, has many years of experience handling traffic cases. She will not let weak or nonexistent evidence support a conviction.