Following Too Closely


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Drivers are required to leave a space distance between their car and the car in front of them.  The distance may vary depending on the speed, road conditions, weather, and traffic congestion.  Courts view whether the distance is “reasonable and prudent” under the circumstances.  If you receive a citation and go to fight the ticket in court, the court will determine whether your distance was reasonable and prudent.

A driver who is pulled over for “tailgating” not only receives a ticket, but will have points added to their driver’s license and be forced to pay expensive fines.  You could easily spend $400 of your hard earned money, not to mention that your insurance rates will also go up.  Tailgating tickets get issued very often in California streets and highways.  Often times commercial drivers don’t realize how dangerous it is to tailgate – the usual cause is being inattentive and being in a rush.  Road hazards and other obstacles that may lie ahead are typically not seen.  If the driver in front of you stops suddenly, you may not have time to stop and it could result in a deadly circumstance.  That is why California traffic courts take CVC 21703 tickets very seriously.

The court’s standard of review for these types of cases is subjective and it depends on the officer’s observations and road conditions.  There is no pre-set distance to explain whether you were driving in a reasonable and prudent manner.  Most of the time, the judge will take the citing officer’s side.  Police officers are very busy and it is unlikely that the judge will believe that the officer pulled you over without having a good reason to do so.

A good rule of thumb is to leave two seconds between your car and the one in front of you.  Of course, always pay attention to the road conditions and give yourself more distance if conditions are dangerous.