So Why Do Traffic Cops Care About Those Broken Taillights?

broken taillight - equipment violationSometimes a DUI arrest begins when a driver shouts to the world that he or she is drunk. It might be veering into the opposing lane, or hitting a curb. Sometimes a driver pauses too long at a stoplight, and the inattention draws the gaze of the cops.

There are other warning signs too: a driver who keeps the window open in cold weather, obviously in an attempt to keep from dozing; a driver who drives too slowly and carefully, who isn’t wearing a seatbelt, or who forgets to turn headlights on at night.

Then there are those who are caught because they were stopped for something not related to driving performance. Equipment violations are common, and after seeing one of these, an officer might well ask if you’ve been drinking:

  • Overly tinted windows
  • Broken taillight
  • Broken headlight
  • Loud muffler
  • Cracked windshield
  • Wrong license plate placement
  • License plate light out
  • Overloaded or overweight vehicle

When a vehicle is stopped for any reason, the officer will be looking for signs of impairment. Even if the infraction has nothing to do with drinking – as in the above cases – police know that many drunk drivers are taken off the road by chance. The broken taillight DUI is a standard law enforcement tool.

If you are stopped for some minor equipment violation, rest assured that the police officer is giving you the once-over. Since so many drunk drivers go undetected until they have a collision, it’s important for police to use every tool they have to remove them from the road.

If you’re stopped and you haven’t been drinking, then you’ll probably just have the traffic ticket for your trouble. If you are under the influence, things will get worse, fast. A good reminder never to drink and drive. Even if your driving doesn’t betray you, your muffler or taillight might turn you in.