Improper Change of Lane
Improper lane change is a statute that is often used by Florida law enforcement. In fact, almost 72,000 drivers annually are cited with improper change of lane. The statute is used in accident scenarios as well as is non-crash tickets.
Statute 316.085 is titled limitations on overtaking, passing, changing lanes or changing course.It reads:
(1)No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of this chapter and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction of any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and, in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within 200 feet of any approaching vehicle.
(2) No vehicle shall be driven from a direct course in any lane on any highway until the driver has determined that the vehicle is not being approached or passed by any other vehicle in the lane or on the side to which the driver desires to move and that the move can be completely made with safety and without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the same direction.
In an accident case, the officer would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the vehicle’s lane change was committed beyond a reasonable doubt and the land change interfered with the operation of either approaching or opposing traffic.
In non-accident cases the citation is often cited INCORRECTLY. There is current case law that states that the improper change of lane must have affected other traffic. If you are driving in the middle of the night and you forget to put your blinker on, and the only other traffic is the officer .5 miles behind you, you may have a very good legal argument to have the citation thrown out of court. This citation is a moving violation and is often used as a reason to stop a vehicle to investigate a possible impaired driver.
Call our office to discuss the facts of your particular case.