Every driver has a responsibility to know, understand, and abide by the traffic laws established by the state in which they’re driving. In almost every state, not knowing the law is not an excuse for breaking it. That means everyone on the road should know how to research the traffic laws in their state. However, with so many options available for research, how do you know where to start? Here are some tips and resources for researching your state’s traffic laws.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has information on all of the state laws. In most cases, the DMV can also provide you with driver resources, many of which are available on your state’s DMV website. The resources provided there are helpful both before you get on the road and after an accident or ticket. You can also find any of the necessary paperwork you’ll need for permits, licenses, or other filings. The website format for your state DMV is usually dmv.stateabbreviation.gov. For example, California’s DMV site is dmv.ca.gov.
The Traffic Safety Office in your state will list all of the laws, regulations, and codes you have to follow while on the road. Usually, they also provide you with a driver handbook or similar resources that briefly and concisely explain the law. You can also find information on grants, traffic data and statistics, and any ongoing campaigns and initiatives. The Traffic Safety Office’s website format is different in every state, so just do a Google search for your state name followed by Traffic Safety Office. For example, “Nevada Traffic Safety Office”.
Your state’s Highway Patrol will also be able to provide you with specific information and resources on the traffic laws in your state. This office is also where you’ll go to report incidents or get information on traffic incidents in your area. You can find the addresses of all the local offices, as well, if you need in-person help. The Highway Patrol site also contains information on child safety seats, motorcycle safety, rules and tips. Frequently asked questions, and specific programs and services that you may be able to benefit from.
The Automobile Association of America (AAA), usually referred to as “triple A”, also has a wealth of state-specific resources available. In fact, they have a virtual encyclopedia of every traffic law you’d ever need to know about. This encyclopedia is called the Digest of Motor Laws and consists of a searchable library of laws for both the United States and Canada. You can search by law or by state. Here are just a few of the laws you can learn about by searching the Digest of Motor Laws.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, as the Digest is extensive and covers all the traffic laws in the United States and Canada.
This might not be the first place you’d think to look when searching for laws and regulations, but your insurance company is required to have, store, and provide information about state traffic laws. They can be of great help and an assist you by providing you specific information based not only on your state but on your specific driving history and circumstances. Of course, your insurance company can help you after an accident and will assist you in filing the necessary paperwork. However, consulting them before you head out on the road can help you ensure you’re clear on the laws in your state. Usually, you don’t have to let your insurance company know if you’re traveling between states. However, they may be able to give you pointers and tell you which laws are different in the states you’ll be traveling through.
Finding information on your state traffic laws is important. These resources are just a starting point to help you find the information you need so you can stay in compliance and out of trouble while traveling on the road. Knowing the law is always your responsibility. However, if you had an accident or received a ticket, contact an attorney in your state. Only a qualified traffic lawyer in your state will be able to assess your specific situation and obtain the most favorable outcome for you.