How many infractions have you committed today?

In no particular order…

Driver making a left turn at a right-turn-only.

Drivers must obey all traffic control devices; this is a catch-all for official signage and striping which doesn’t have a specific statute.  §28-644 Drivers tend to ignore signage which doesn’t suit their desires. Like the driver pictured, there is a steady stream of illegal movements at this driveway (and in case you were wondering, yes the sign is an “official” TCD, duly authorized by, in this case, the city of Phoenix) (also, in case you were wondering, this is not an “official” stop sign. A complete stop before crossing the sidewalk is always required when emerging from a driveway)

Drivers emerging from drivewayevery driveway, must stop (stop means stop) before the sidewalk area.   §28-856.  By every driveway, I mean no sign is required; it’s irrelevant whether or not there is a stop sign, no sign is necessary, the law always applies. This law is commonly violated any time sight lines are good, and there’s apparently no other traffic in the way. The same law applies to emerging from an alley, or building (i.e. a parking garage).

Speeding: going any faster than limits (posted or statutory, if unposted, e.g. residential is 25mph) is prima facia evidence that speed is greater than reasonable and prudent in violation of  §28-701. There is no “allowable” overage; no “10mph buffer”; no grace period.


Rolling through red lights: Drivers must “stop before entering the intersection” §28-645(A)(3)(a). Stop means stop. Drivers most commonly violate this simple rule when intending to make a right-on-red and sight lines are good and there is not other traffic blocking their way. Less commonly, speeding drivers cannot stop in the time/distance allotted by the yellow phase, ending up stopped within the intersection. The duration of the yellow phase is determined by the speed limit. Note any (A)(3)(a) violation is considered an extra-serious infraction; conviction requires TSS (all-day driver’s school) attendance.  The vast majority of drivers will commit this violation given the opportunity, here 6 of 6 drivers violated in a 30 second period.  Here’s another video clip with a typical scene:  at 7:22 a silver car followed immediately by 2 pickup trucks all roll through the red light without stopping. This 14-second clip of a pickup driver rolling a right on red (or another: blue prius rolling r-o-r ) illustrates why counter-flow sidewalk riding is so dangerous.

Blocking the crosswalk #1: Drivers approaching a red light wishing to make a right-on-red, where allowed, must first stop  “at the entrance to the crosswalk” (and oh yeah, stop means stop); and “yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic” before proceeding. ” §28-645(A)(3)(b). Note this is similar to, but distinct from (A)(3)(a) above. Drivers commonly violate this rule because they don’t stop in time.


Driver committing a No Turn on Red violation

No Turn on Red: Drivers frequently violate §28-645(A)(3)(a)/(b) by turning on red where a no-turn-on-red sign is posted. The most common example I’ve encountered is at freeway exit ramps with limited sight distance; we otherwise have very few no-turn-on-red signs out here in the ‘burbs. In other words, drivers here have limited opportunities to violate this law because very few intersections are posted no turn on red.


No Passing

No Passing Zones: This is regularly ignored, especially in school zones. School Zones are always posted “No Passing”.  See comment below.


Blocking the crosswalk #2 / Rolling through Stop Signs: “A driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk”. §28-855. As usual, stop means stop, not just slow down or roll through. Drivers routinely fail to stop before crosswalk (similar to emerging from a driveway). Drivers routinely violate this rule by rolling through when sight lines are good and there is no apparently conflicting traffic. Note that both not stopping at all (‘running’ the stop sign), or stopping in the crosswalk are the same violation. Most drivers will roll through given the opportunity; I noted 6 no-stops within a minute at a typical intersection, see video, and see embedded video, above. Because of the “Idaho Stop” rule (in Idaho), this is a very hot topic whenever discussed, see article on stop sign compliance, as well as the linked paper Scofflaw bicycling: Illegal but rational.

Failure to signal when “any other traffic may be affected by the movement.” §28-754.

Failure to yield to peds in xwalk: “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be in order to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk”  §28-792. Most drivers seem to know and at least attempt to adhere to this rule when there’s a marked crosswalk. Unfortunately most drivers seem to have no idea the same rule applies equally to an unmarked crosswalk. If you have to ask, you are probably a candidate for violating this law. (you can look up the def’n of crosswalk at §28-601 ).

Left turns: drivers must “make the turn to the left lane immediately available”; and not just ‘shoot across’ several lanes. §28-751(2).

Right Turns: “Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway”  §28-751(1). Drivers must not just swoop across, “rounding off” the turn; but often do. Note that bike lanes add confusion to this otherwise simple rule… drivers must not “operate in” a designated bike lane other than to cross it §28-815(D).

729 drive within one lane; to be added.



Both drivers of vehicle and bicyclists, because they are treated as drivers of vehicles for the purposes of the Traffic Code, violate laws from time-to-time. Some more than others, and some types are more commonly violated by drivers and some more by bicyclists.

Violation of traffic laws is part of the human condition, and not associated with a particular mode of transport whether it by by driving a vehicle, bicycling, walking, or other.

With the exception of citing pursuant to a crash, the vast majority of infractions are not only not cited, but are actively overlooked. It would be simply impossible for police to issue them all.  Automated enforcement is technically possible, especially for things like speeding and red-light running, but are wildly unpopular; and Arizona’s state politicians have made it one of their goals to outlaw it entirely, claiming among other things that they believe citations should only be issued by live officers.

Live officers are extremely expensive, and policing budgets are stretched thin, so enforcement, never popular, gets cut; and fewer citations get issued. And of course the state politicians offer no funding to help.

So police tend to only ‘target’ certain groups (say bicyclists, or pedestrians) or certain behaviors. Ironically police will often get extra money, grants, to promote, say, pedestrian safety. The easiest way to spend the money is to ticket “jay” walkers.

See also  Scofflaw bicycling: Illegal but rational  [.pdf] which despite the title makes reference to all sorts of scofflaws.

3 thoughts on “How many infractions have you committed today?”

  1. Ask a Cop Submission
    By Sergeant Brent Coombs, Glendale Police Department
    Sept 16, 2010
    Question: I’ve heard that it’s illegal to pass in a school zone. What does that mean?
    Answer: First let me define a “school zone” for you. A school zone can be anywhere; in residential neighborhoods or on main thoroughfares. Generally there are three signs within a school zone: the first two will be facing you, and the third, or last sign, will be facing away from you. The first sign facing you obligates you to begin traveling at 15 mph and not to “pass” any other vehicles traveling in the same direction as you. You are required to follow these rules until you get beyond the second sign facing you, which is placed at the far side of the crosswalk in the school zone. Once you are beyond that crosswalk you can resume the normal speed limit established for that street and you may pass when it’s safe to do so. The third sign which will be facing away from you is notification to the traffic going the opposite direction that they are now entering a school zone. That sign does not apply to you.
    The term “passing” in this situation means that when you enter the school zone, the front bumper of your vehicle cannot extend in front of any other vehicle that is inside the school zone traveling with you in the same direction, and was ahead of you when you entered the zone. Now if the vehicle that’s in the lane next to yours is traveling slower than 15 mph, you cannot move ahead of it or “pass” it, you must slow down. Remember the driver of the other vehicle might see something that you don’t, so you should slow down and proceed with caution.
    The traffic laws applicable to school zones can be found in Arizona Revised Statute 28-797. The safety of our children as they travel to and from school is very important.
    Remember, a violation involving passing within a school zone or traveling in excess of 15 mph can cost you about $275 if you are found responsible.

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