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Car Accidents Caused by Improper Lane Usage & Lane Changes

Improper lane change in Louisiana, sometimes called improper lane usage, is a moving traffic violation often associated with car accidents. This violation can result in a traffic ticket that will affect one’s driving record. Failure to use and change lanes properly can also endanger drivers and others on the road.

Learn more about improper lane changes below, including examples, penalties, and legal defenses against charges.

What Constitutes Improper Lane Changes or Lane Usage?

According to Louisiana law, all lane changes should be signaled prior to moving lanes. Failure to use your blinker when changing lanes is a crime.

Specifically, in Louisiana the law says that when one intends to change lanes, one must turn the appropriate signal on for a minimum of 100 feet prior to moving lanes. Additionally, the turn signal should remain active throughout the entirety of the lane change.

Improper lane usage may also refer to instances where a driver fails to stay in their established lane or misuses a lane for something other than its designed intent.

For instance, drifting across the barrier line could constitute improper lane usage. Additionally, some lanes are designated for specific purposes or vehicles. Have you ever seen one of those signs indicating that big trucks and eighteen wheelers should stay in the right lane? Failure to obey such traffic directives could constitute improper lane usage.

Some other examples that may constitute improper lane usage:

  • Cutting off another driver by changing lanes
  • In some cases, signs may be erected along a roadway that indicate that slower traffic should use one lane, while the other should be used only for passing. Doing otherwise could constitute improper lane usage.
  • Driving outside of designated lanes, such as using the shoulder on the interstate to pass someone.

Is There a Difference Between Improper Lane Usage and Improper Lane Change?

Not really. The two charges are more or less synonymous, and the wording may vary depending on what the police officer writes on the ticket. At the end of the day, either charge carries the same penalty.

Penalties for Improper Lane Change in Louisiana

Improper lane changes or improper lane usage is a ticketable offense. If a police officer witnesses a driver violating proper lane usage laws, they will likely pull them over.

The penalty for this ticket is typically $144 dollars.

However, it should be noted that in Louisiana, paying a traffic ticket is equivalent to pleading guilty to the charges. Because improper lane usage is a moving violation, that means if you pay the ticket the charge will go on your driving record. This will likely result in your insurance rates going up, and costing you a lot more money long-term.

Before you pay the ticket, speak to a traffic ticket attorney to learn about your options. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Improper Lane Usage and Car Accidents

While it can happen, it takes a pretty significant case of right place at the right time in order for a cop to pull a driver over for an improper lane change.  More often, this violation is handed out in the wake of a car accident, based on the testimony of other drivers.

Improper lane usage can be contributing factors in many kinds of different accidents:

Common Defenses Against Improper Lane Usage

In the wake of a car accident, there can be a lot of “he said, she said.” The police will take statements from all the involved parties. They will often hand out tickets for things like reckless operation or improper lane change, depending on the various testimonies.

In many cases, an improper lane change relies on the credibility of other witnesses. In other words, it is a subjective charge.

One can fight the charge by challenging the credibility of the witness. Alternatively, if the officer himself is claiming to have witnessed improper lane usage, one can question how they were able to see it, or call for proof.

That said, every case is different, and as such, your defense should be designed and assembled according to the specifics of your case. That’s where having a car accident attorney on your side becomes invaluable.

Have You Been Charged With Improper Lane Usage?

Bloom Legal is a full-service law firm in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana. We work hard to protect the rights and wellbeing of our community by fighting for them in the wake of accidents and in court.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a improper lane change, we can help you fight the charge and protect your driving record. If an accident was involved, we will work hard to protect your assets and reputation, and pursue the compensation you deserve.

If you were injured in an accident or if your car or property was damaged, you are due compensation for your damages. Let us help you get the full amount you are due.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We understand that in life accidents happen. We work hard to make sure you’re taken care of when they do.


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