How not to get a ticket

Consequences for moving violations mostly circumstantial…

Carlie Sack | Staff Writer

While Ohio teenage driving laws state clear consequences for traffic violations committed by minors, courts can assign varying punishments depending on the circumstance, according to Mason High School Resource Officer Troy Nelson.

Senior Rachael Hardy said she was recently pulled over while driving 65 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone. The officer only gave her a warning.

For drivers under age 18, any moving violation should result in some sort of license suspension, according to Nelson.

“[Anytime] where you are driving the car and, through your negligence, you get a ticket [is] a moving violation,” Nelson said.

Junior Courtney Moses, 16, said she had her license for only four months when she received her first ticket for running a stop sign and having more than one other person in her car. Her license was consequentially suspended for six months.

“I slowed down, but I didn’t stop all the way,” Moses said. “It wasn’t that big of a violation.”

Even if the same violation is committed, juveniles and adults often have different consequences, according to Nelson.

“In an adult court, there [are] different fines you pay depending on the amount of miles over the limit you are,” Nelson said. “[But] juveniles have to go to court. Juveniles can’t pay the ticket out.”

Senior Kyle Searer said he has received three tickets in his driving career. Despite a license suspension, Searer still receives certain privileges to drive to and from school, work and his sporting events.

According to Nelson, these requests for driving privileges will double the length of a suspension.

At the time of his first violation, Searer was 16 and received a license suspension of 30 days for driving 42 mph in a 25 mph zone. Searer was 17 when he received his second ticket for driving 43 mph in a 25 mph zone. His punishment was a six-month license suspension.

“After the [first] ticket, I knew I’d get another one,” Searer said. “It’s too easy [to get a ticket].”

Searer’s third ticket was given for an accident when he was 17. By his court date, Searer was 18 but he still received a license suspension of one year.

“It makes sense for [the law] to be the way it is,” Searer said.

The Ohio teenage driving law, House Bill 343, states that any driver, who is not yet 16 and a half and has been licensed for less than six months, will receive a suspension of six months if one moving violation is committed. The bill also states that any driver, who is 16 1⁄2 and has been licensed for less than six months, will be suspended until the age of 17 if one moving violation is committed.

However, if a driver commits one moving violation and is 17 by the court date, the judge will decide if license suspension is necessary.

During the time of a license suspension, the suspended driver may only drive with a parent or guardian, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Punishments for minor accidents vary depending on each circumstance and the seriousness of the accident, Nelson said.

Junior Shelby Konrad received her first ticket from a fender-bender. She was 16 at the time of the accident and had had her license for six months and ten days.

After appearing in court, Konrad said she had to pay fees and go to a driving class, but did not receive a license suspension.

“I think [the consequences] are fair,” Konrad said. “[They] will teach you a lesson.”

The primary rule for students to avoid tickets is to be conscious of their surroundings, according to Nelson.

“Slow down and be aware of your speed,” Nelson said. “[Don’t be] distracted by the other things around you.”