As a driver in Pennsylvania, it's essential to be aware of the various traffic laws and regulations to avoid being pulled over. While some violations may seem minor, they can still result in a traffic stop, potential fines, or even more serious offenses. And the last thing you want to do is get to know a traffic violation lawyer!
I've compiled a list of 6 things you may not know you can be pulled over for. In addition, it may be beneficial to touch base with a PA traffic lawyer if you need more information about your specific issue.
Six Unusual Traffic Violations in Pennsylvania
Here are the top 6 things that drivers in Pennsylvania should be aware of to avoid getting pulled over:
1. Rat Running
Rat running involves drivers seeking alternative routes to bypass traffic signals, intersections, or even stop signs. This behavior can increase traffic, noise pollution, and safety risks.
For example, some drivers may think cutting through a corner gas station or parking lot is okay to avoid waiting at a red light. However, this is illegal in Pennsylvania and can result in a traffic ticket and fines exceeding $150. Following traffic signals and waiting for the light to turn green before proceeding is essential. Otherwise, you may need to talk with a traffic violation lawyer.
2. Rearview Mirror Hangings
While it may seem harmless to hang something from your rearview mirror, it can violate Pennsylvania's traffic laws used to initiate a traffic stop. This includes things like air fresheners, parking permits, or any decoration. In addition, anything that obstructs your view of the road can result in a traffic stop and potential fines.
In 2022, Philadelphia passed the Driving Equality law that banned the practice of police pulling over motorists for this offense, along with seven other infractions in Philadelphia.
3. License Plate Obstructions
In Pennsylvania, it's illegal to obstruct your license plate with a license cover or any other type of material. This includes tinted covers, wraps, or frames partially covering the plate.
License plates must always be visible, and any obstruction can result in a traffic ticket. Police can pull over a driver if a frame covers any part of their license plate, including the edges and the visitpa.com URL.
With PA toll roads reducing or eliminating toll collectors, the state has doubled down on active RFID technology to keep tabs on collecting tolls. Unfortunately, having obstructions on your license plate could make it more difficult for the state to record offenders.
A recent 2022 ruling included mud, dirt, and even magnets on the list of obstructions to a license plate. Penalties for an obscured plate could exceed $100. So, if you think you've been unjustly accused, it's wise to consult with a traffic violation lawyer.
4. Cell Phones at a Red Light
While it may seem like a good time to check your phone or send a quick text while waiting at a red light, it's important to note that this is illegal in Pennsylvania. Drivers holding a cell phone in their hand(s), in any matter, while driving or while stopped at a red light or stop sign, can be subject to fines.
Fines typically are around $50 plus additional fees. However, texting violations usually won't add demerit points to a motorist's driving record in PA.
5. Seatbelt Traffic Violations
In Pennsylvania, it's well known that ALL drivers and passengers are required by law to wear a seatbelt. A fine of $10 plus court costs may be imposed if a seatbelt is not worn while driving in Pennsylvania.
But did you know that having passengers between the ages of 4 and 8 may face a higher penalty of $75 plus court costs? Children under four must be secured in a restraint system suitable for their height and weight. So it’s important to buckle up every time you get in the car to ensure your safety and avoid getting pulled over.
6. Tinted Windows
In Pennsylvania, vehicle window tinting is regulated by state law. So it’s illegal to have excessive tinting on your car windows. The Visible Light Transmission allowed on ANY window on post-1998 passenger cars is 70%. This means that 70% of the light contacting the window must pass through the window.
If a police officer pulls you over and determines that your window tint is illegal, you could face fines and penalties. The fine amount will depend on the specific circumstances of the violation, such as the extent of the window tinting and whether you have been cited for the same violation before. A traffic violation lawyer may help you eliminate or reduce the charges.
Additionally, if you have modified your vehicle's windows to add tinting, you may be required to remove the tint and bring the vehicle into compliance with state law.
Have you been pulled over for one of these traffic violations?
At High Swartz LLP, we understand that being pulled over by the police can be stressful and overwhelming. If you've been charged with a traffic violation, our traffic lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.