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Updates News & Information About Driving Laws

Why Ignoring Traffic Tickets is Not an Option for Travelers

April 10th, 2014 by tvblog

Getting a traffic ticket for any kind of offence can be annoying, expensive and inconvenient. It’s even more frustrating if you feel that you didn’t deserve the ticket in the first place, whether it’s for speeding, parking or another violation. However, some drivers will still leave their traffic ticket unpaid or unchallenged for months at a time – what they don’t realize is that this can leave them open to related problems. Drivers who travel for work, either between states or outside the US, are particularly at risk of facing inconvenience with an outstanding ticket. Traffic laws in different states and countries can be confusing, so it’s best to take the advice of an experienced traffic lawyer to look at your case. Ticketvoid.com will match you to a local traffic ticket lawyer for any type of moving violations. It can help you to avoid the inconvenience of a traffic ticket on your record, which can impact your ability to hire a car and could even stop you crossing the border.

Renting a car

Renting a vehicle when you’re in a different state or overseas is quick and convenient, but it could become an option which is closed to you if you have a traffic ticket on your record. Drivers who pick up tickets while driving rental cars can and should contest their tickets. It can be tempting to think that a driving violation picked up in another state can be ‘written off’ but many hire car companies collaborate with American Traffic Solutions, which provides traffic safety, mobility and compliance solutions for state and local governments, as well as rental car companies. This means that when you hire a car, your credit card information can be given to ATS. In the event that you get a ticket while driving a rental car, your card will be automatically charged. But what if you get a ticket in another country? Your rental car company can give your personal details to the collection authority and the ticket may follow you home. If you find yourself facing charges from a rental car, it’s best to consult an experienced traffic lawyer to advise you on your case, as once a driving offence is on your record it can have long-lasting effects.

Travelling overseas

Having a traffic ticket from the US hanging over you can be inconvenient if you often travel overseas. In popular European locations such as Northern Ireland (NI) and the rest of the UK, rental companies may ask you if you have any driving convictions before allowing you to hire a car.  This means that having traffic tickets may affect your excess when taking out insurance on your rental vehicle. You may be asked to pay an additional excess by car insurance NI companies or other European insurers. If you have a traffic ticket outstanding in your name, you may also find it harder to return to the US. The US Customs and Border Protection advise drivers to pay traffic tickets, in particular moving violations, especially before travelling. It warns that while unpaid traffic tickets won’t mean you’ll be arrested when coming through customs on return to the US, unless an arrest warrant is issued, you could face a more intensive inspection if your record is not clear.

Travelling between states

If you regularly travel between states then it could be easy to think that a traffic ticket in one state won’t apply when you’re back home. But many US insurance companies share information about drivers’ convictions, with the Driver License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact covering offences which occur out of state. States can also provide information to your insurance company, which could increase your premium. A speeding ticket can stay on your record for up to three years, and a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can last even longer. These can have adverse effects on your insurance premium, as your insurer is likely to take a negative view of your traffic ticket. You could also lose the right to ‘good driver’ discounts offered by many insurers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that speeding-related deaths account for nearly a third of all US traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives. This statistic means that insurers are duty-bound to increase premiums for speeding drivers. TicketVoid.com warns that drivers who have face DUI charges, drink driving or reckless driving will also be forced to pay substantial premiums for insurance coverage, in addition to thousands of dollars in fines and court costs. In extreme circumstances, serious driving offences could lead to a custodial sentence and you could even lose your job.

Count the cost

The average cost of a speeding ticket in the US is $152 meaning that many drivers simply pay the ticket to escape the need to appear in court. However, the true cost of a traffic ticket doesn’t end once the check is cleared. If you think you’ve got a case then make sure you ask a qualified traffic ticket lawyer to advise you on the best course of action to take – before a minor error turns into years of added expense and inconvenience.

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Commercial Car Insurance: Is Your Non-Profit Organization Covered?

April 6th, 2014 by Mediashower

It’s easy to overlook car insurance when you’re setting up coverage for your non-profit organization. You’re busy making sure that your company’s business liability is covered and that your operating space is insured. It’s easy to overlook transportation – especially if you, your employees and your volunteers are using their own vehicles. A lot of non-profit organizers assume that their (and their employees’) personal car insurance will keep everything covered in the event of an accident.

Unfortunately – at least as far as your budget is concerned – it won’t.

question marks Commercial Car Insurance: Is Your Non Profit Organization Covered?
Who covers what?

Personal car insurance does not typically cover accidents or a traffic ticket that is obtained while using the vehicle to do the non-profit’s bidding. It almost always fails to cover other passengers who are in the car for business purposes.

For example, “Business Insurance for Non-Profits” talks about a volunteer at a non-profit senior center transporting a senior citizen from the center to a doctor’s appointment and getting into an accident on the way. This is why, even if your non-profit agency lacks company-specific vehicles, it needs a commercial car insurance policy.

traffic Commercial Car Insurance: Is Your Non Profit Organization Covered?
Even in a hurry up and wait situation, you need to be covered properly!

A commercial car insurance policy can act as a stop-gap to help fill in where personal insurance fails. You can set up the policy to cover yourself, your employees and your volunteers – even while they are driving their own cars.

This doesn’t mean that covering your vehicles through a commercial insurance policy will solve all of your auto-related problems. For example, most policies won’t cover or reimburse drivers who get a speeding ticket. The driver will have to pay the speeding ticket out of his or her own pocket – just like they would with a personal insurance policy. Second, if the driver is ticketed while running a personal errand on “company time,” it might take time to sort out which policy’s prices will be impacted (if at all) by that traffic ticket.

Work with your insurance agent and your lawyer to make sure that all of your insurance related bases, business, property and automobile are covered.

Erin Steiner is a freelance writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon. She is a regular contributor to Ticket Void.

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Eco-Friendly RVs? Sounds Like an Impossibility!

April 2nd, 2014 by Mediashower

RVs have a bad, though earned, reputation. They’re known for being huge lugging lumps that clog up regularly free-flowing transportation systems. They’re known for being driven people whose driving skills are…if we’re being gracious, questionable. RVs are known for having terrible gas mileage and for guzzling fuel like it’s going out of style.

RV fleet Eco Friendly RVs? Sounds Like an Impossibility!
The only way to travel?

Paradoxically, they’re also known as “the goal.” Just about everybody has had that daydream – they sell most of their stuff (or put it in storage), buy an RV, and hit the road for an indefinite road trip. Usually what brings the dreamer back to reality isn’t the cost of buying the RV or even the price of fuel but the fact that, on the whole, RVs are terrible for the environment.

At least, they used to be.

Almost a decade ago, Willie Nelson made the news when he switched his tour bus from regular fuel to biodiesel that he named BioWillie. He wasn’t content to be the only green tourer, so he started wrangling other musicians and convincing them to make the switch as well. As go the rock stars, so goes the world.

It isn’t just fuel that’s changing within the world of RVs.

In 2008, the Janssen family made news over the country when they traded their luxurious Montana apartment for a tiny RV that they retrofitted to be sustainable. In addition to using recycled vegetable oil for fuel, the Janssens switched out the standard hot water tank for one that is only six gallons. They also remodeled the RV to have bamboo flooring, used non-toxic paints on the walls, and installed a waste-grease fuel system.

In Texas, wilderness expert Brian Brawdy (featured in the same NY Times article as the Janssens) took his Lance Camper and remodeled and refit it to use solar power, wind energy, and even capture rainwater.

If you aren’t into outfitting and making changes yourself, that’s okay. In the years since these eco-friendly RV pioneers made the news, entire companies have formed with the sole goal of manufacturing and selling green RVs. (And don’t forget–all RVs, green or not, need to be properly insured. For more in-depth info, check out “Recreational Vehicle Coverage.”)

bubble earth Eco Friendly RVs? Sounds Like an Impossibility!
The machine is only part of it!

It’s important to note, though, that eco-friendly RV travel doesn’t start and stop with the RV itself. How you live while you are on the road also contributes to the sustainability of your trip. If you truly want to have a sustainable RV trip, don’t forget the following tips:

1. Buy locally everywhere you go, and only buy what you need and what will last you until your next stop. This way you won’t have to worry about carrying a bunch of storage containers with you, and you won’t be tempted to rely upon plastic bags for transport.

2. Cook your own meals. Part of the fun of RVing is grilling out as much as possible. Sure, you probably have at least a basic kitchen setup, but grilling outside is better for the environment and will make your food taste better. This also reduces the amount of dishes you’ll have to wash, which helps you save water.

3. Short showers are key. Yes, you want to be clean, but the smaller your hot water tank, the better. The Janssens’ tank only holds six gallons. That’s enough to get clean but not enough to linger and waste water.

These are just three ways (four if you count the RV itself) that you can “green up” your RV trip. What are some of the things you’ve done to make your road trips more sustainable?

Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, one of the greenest cities in the country. In addition to green topics, she writes about small businesses, reviews time tracking software, and keeps her finger on the pulse of geek culture.

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Are Rental Cars Stuck in Neutral?

March 18th, 2014 by Mediashower

Are Rental Cars Stuck in Neutral?

The rental car business in the United States is a very competitive market.
With the recent global recession it is interesting to look at how the market has been affected as a whole.

car rental 1 Are Rental Cars Stuck in Neutral?
photo credit: Karen V Bryan via photopin cc

Viewing the Past: The Recession

The rental car industry was hit relatively hard by the global recession that began in 2008. It saw dismal numbers of rentals and corresponding financial transactions throughout the year 2009 but has since been recovering at a steady rate.

One of the biggest factors that played a part in this grim era for the industry was the lack of air travel. The rental car industry is intrinsically tied to the travel industry.

When a global recession happens, it has been proven time and again that one of the first things people cut out of their budget is travel expenses. Given that drivers don’t always have a ton of options when it comes to lessening what they pay for auto insurance rates, they may cut out or greatly lessen their travel plans in order to save some dollars. When money is tight, it simply doesn’t make sense to fly around the country on vacation anymore. These canceled flights correspond directly with canceled car rentals. This means that while the airline industry is in a tight spot, the rental car industry will be as well.

With more companies and individuals allocating funds back into air travel in the recent past, the rental car industry has begun to recover. Last year it saw an annual growth rate of 1.2%, which is consistent with the projections made within the industry. The businesses expect to see continued growth as long as the economy continues to recover at a decent pace.

car rental 2 Are Rental Cars Stuck in Neutral?
photo credit: slgckgc via photopin cc

The rental car market in the United States is an interesting one to keep an eye on going forward. With the expected growth in the coming years, there is a chance for a changing of the guard within the market. For those who travel often, more competition is always a good thing. If you’re planning on rental a car sometime soon, check out “5 Ways to Make Your Next Rental Car a Breeze.

About the Author: Thomas Verdone is an author who covers a wide range of topics, including finance, fitness, and personal development.

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Speeding ticket and Drugs

March 17th, 2014 by tvblog

Speeding Tickets and Drugs: the Facts

Let’s face it, most drivers will admit that they have been guilty of speeding at one point or another during their driving careers, even though it is illegal. It is probably one of the most common illegal offenses committed in the world. Even though speeding tickets can be eye-wateringly expensive virtually every driver will admit to having succomed to the temptation of upping their speed on a near-empty road when they know (or think!) there are no speed cameras to get at them, or even speeding by accident because they simply have not noticed a change in the speed limit.

A common offense

Speeding may be the commonest of offenses but that does not mean that it does not have extremely serious consequences, and may even require the offender to appear in court. Furthermore, sometimes people speed because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The punishment for speeders if they are pulled over and found to be under the influence of drugs can be extremely severe. As driving under the influence is the reason for over a third of all traffic-related deaths, it is taken extremely seriously as an offence. What is more, not only does the law take a very dim view of drug-related traffic offenses, but if anything legislation is becoming tougher in terms of dealing with cases of driving under the influence. In all of the 50 states of America, driving under the influence or driving with influence is a crime. Certain cases of driving under the influence are also possibly chargeable as a felony- if found guilty of a felony the punishment is most likely to be prison. This should be a real incentive to people suffering from drug addictions to try and tackle their dependency. The legal consequences of such a dependency can be catastrophic and life-ruining, as well as the impact on your overall health.

A scenario

The scenario of people speeding while under the influence of drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana is sadly more common than many appreciate. Often the person under the influence loses a measure of control over their driving and is less likely to follow basic rules when it comes to speed and the direction and handling of the vehicle. They are therefore likely to speed or swerve or jump through traffic lights or fail to indicate or a combination of all these things, which can attract the attention of traffic police. If the traffic police pulls them over they may well be able to immediately guess that the person in question has been taking drugs. They may smell the scent of marijuana on the person or in their vehicle, for example. They may be able to tell by their gestures or pupils that they have been taking drugs. In any case, they will be able to quickly prove their suspicions by asking them to undertake a sobriety test. If they fail this they could be arrested during which time they could subjected to further drugs tests. In the end the offender could lose your license, be ordered by a court to undertake drug treatment, be put on probation or even be sentenced to spend time in jail.

The repercussions are serious

If it is your first driving under the influence offense for speeding or so on, then you could find yourself looking at a stint in county jail, a three year probation period and a fine which could be around $1000. You are also likely to be obliged to undergo treatment for your drug abuse and have your license either suspended altogether or in some cases restricted. If your speeding under the influence has caused physical injury or killed someone then even if it is your first offense then you are looking at being charged with a felony. The punishment if found guilty is likely to be jail time in a state prison. It is also worth adding that if drugs are also found in your vehicle following a search of your car after you are pulled over for speeding, then your could face an even harsher punishment.

Can I be tested for drugs in court over a speeding ticket?

A frequent question from people who have been speeding and caught on camera rather than being pulled over and tested for drugs is: will I face a drug test if taken to court over a speeding ticket? The answer is not unless a police officer has issued you with a drug related speeding ticket. Nonetheless, the judge is within their power to order you to submit to a drug test in court if you seem to be under the influence of some kind of drug while in court. If traces of drugs are then found in your body then then you could be facing felony offenses. So in summary although, no, you won’t be asked to take a drugs test for simply having been issued with a speeding ticket and ordered to go to court over it, but the judge can in overrule this in appropriate circumstances.

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Auto Insurance Tips That Will Save You Money

March 9th, 2014 by Mediashower

Auto Insurance Tips that Will Save You Money

Ah, auto insurance. Clearly, a topic that brings joy to every driver’s heart. Well, actually not. But here is an impressive collection of tips that will help you save money.

Less Expensive Car = Less Premiums

In the ongoing quest for cheap auto insurance, consider a cheaper car. Imported cars, no matter how cool or cute, inevitably are more expensive to insure. Cars that are less likely to get stolen are also cheaper to insure. Cars that are more difficult to repair, cars that are more complex or have more bells and whistles, also cost more.

You Better Shop Around

It’s more than just a decent song title. Insurance rates can vary widely from company to company. Check also for extras like accident forgiveness or vanishing deductibles.

The More, the Merrier

Do you have a house or rent an apartment? Then you may have home or renters’ insurance. Bundling these insurance policies with your car insurance will save you money. Also, make sure you insure all of your vehicles with the same company, since multi-vehicle discounts are a common incentive.

Customer Loyalty

If you shopped around and did your research and found a company that you like, consider sticking with them for the long haul. Some companies offer loyalty discounts, and you don’t want to miss out on them for the sake of a short-term savings by jumping ship prematurely.

Check out “Does it Pay to Be Loyal to Your Auto Insurance Company?” for more info on this topic.

Have Smart Kids

Many insurance carriers offer discounts for children with good grades. This becomes very important when you start putting your teenagers on your auto insurance policy. There are also discounts offered to new drivers who complete a driver’s education course. If all else fails, just don’t put teenage boys on your policy…yeah…okay, so maybe that’s not going to be very practical if you happen to have teenage boys. Worth a shot, anyway.

Be an Awesome Driver

Last but not least, drive safely and courteously. The better your driving record, the less you end up paying. Conversely, many insurance carriers slap on surcharges for traffic tickets.

While there are more tips out there, these are enough to get you started on the road to paying less for car insurance. Drive safely!

Byline: John Terra has been freelance writing since 1985, and really enjoys New Hampshire’s approach to auto insurance.

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Preparing for the CDL Exam: Be Sure to Use These Resources

March 9th, 2014 by Mediashower

Preparing for the CDL Exam: Be Sure to Use These Resources

Since 1992, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) has been required to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Although states issues these licenses, the federal government provides minimum regulation and testing standards, and also defines the category of drivers who must be licensed. Size of the vehicle, weight of the vehicle, and type of material being transported are all factored into the guidelines. There are also special categories for traffic tickets, and CDL violations can be extremely expensive and burdensome.

When practicing for your CDL test, consider one of these study aids.

80376927 Preparing for the CDL Exam: Be Sure to Use These Resources
A commercial driver’s license is required to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

CDL Exam Secrets CDL Practice Test Secrets, Study Guide

Find weaknesses in the exam that you can exploit in your favor, and learn the five secrets to exam success, as well as how to guess with strategy, “milk the question,” pace yourself, and avoid fact traps.

Barron’s CDL Truck Driver’s Test

With Barron’s CDL Truck Driver’s Test, you’ll get comprehensive coverage of both the written and driven portions through not just text, but illustrations and photos to make cramming for the CDL test even easier. Specific answers are given, and common questions and situations are explained.

Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Regulations Pocketbook

This material is excellent both before and after the test. Updated monthly to keep pace with ever-changing regulations, the Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Regulations Pocketbook covers inspection standards, CDL standards, alcohol and drug testing, safe operation and just about anything a prospective – or professional – driver needs to know.

182083751 Preparing for the CDL Exam: Be Sure to Use These Resources
Federally regulated CDL tests are complicated and difficult.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been regulating drivers of commercial motor vehicles for more than 20 years. Compared with drivers of regular vehicles, more is expected of commercial drivers, CDL licensing is much tougher, and penalties for even minor infractions can be severe. Your first step to commercial driving is to get a license. The only way to accomplish this is to pass the test – but that will require some practice.

Drive safely, avoid traffic tickets and CDL violations, and most importantly, study hard!

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about commercial driving and state licensing.

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