Courts have ruled on edge line violations

The in basket: Last fall, when I noticed the edge and center lines of Highway 106 (South Shore Road) in North Mason had been repainted noticeably thicker and wrote that it was a test of how the wider lines would effect speeding, someone hypothesized that it could be used to increase the number of tickets written for crossing the edge line.

The question, I decided, is whether it’s a violation to drive across the edge line, or merely on it. Officers regard edge line violations, or crossing the center line, a sign of a possibly  impaired driver and often make stops to find out.

The out basket: State Trooper Russ Winger, spokesman for the state Patrol here, replied, “The courts have issued an opinion on the lane line issue. They have said that during the normal course of driving a motor‎ist could possibly drift onto or over a lane line (skip line, edge line, or even the center line), reasoning that this could happen to even the best of drivers.

“They called this a ‘brief incursion,’ I believe, and said that a single occurrence alone MAY not be considered a solid reason (reasonable suspicion) to stop a driver for a violation and issue a citation or possibly make a custodial arrest for, say, DUI.

“The court speaks about ‘repeated occurrences’ and also the degree of the action that an officer can articulate.

“Arguably, crossing the center line may be more dangerous than say drifting over the lane edge line by( just for example) 6 inches.

“This is the premise that troopers, deputies and officers working ‎the road currently have to go by.

“This is not to say that if an officer sees and believes that a single occurrence or violation witnessed is dangerous enough to warrant stopping, they are wrong,

Russ said.  “It just means that the officer will have to articulate the reasoning behind it to sustain a citation or arrest.

The court will likely look to the totality of the circumstances ‎in deciding these types of reasonable suspicion issues.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Is water a solid or a liquid at room temperature?