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Consequences for tailgating can be more serious than you think

Tailgating, or following another vehicle too closely, can lead to serious accidents and is generally considered a traffic violation; however, in some situations, the law may deem it a misdemeanor. It depends on the circumstances and the severity of the incident.

In Arizona, as in many other states, the specific legal consequences for tailgating that causes a serious accident can vary.

Traffic violation tickets

Tailgating is typically a traffic violation, and law enforcement may issue tickets to the driver responsible. The severity of the ticket may increase if the tailgating results in a serious accident.

Points on driving record

Convictions for traffic violations often result in adding points to the driver’s record. Accumulating too many points within a specific period can lead to license suspension or other consequences.

Insurance consequences

A serious accident caused by tailgating can lead to increased insurance premiums or even the cancellation of the driver’s insurance policy. Insurance companies may view the driver as a higher risk, and this can affect rates for an extended period.

License suspension or revocation

In some cases, the state may suspend or revoke the driver’s license. First-time offenses may garner a 30 to 90-day suspension while repeat offenders may face more serious and long-term consequences.

Legal liability

Courts may hold the driver who was tailgating legally liable for the damages resulting from the accident. This can include medical expenses, property damage and other costs.

Fines and punishment

A charge of following too closely under Arizona statute 28-730 may result in a fine and points on auto insurance. However, if a driver’s behavior results in a charge of reckless driving under ARS 28-693, the consequences may include up to four months in jail, higher fines and license suspension.

Civil lawsuits

In addition to any criminal or traffic penalties, the driver may also face civil lawsuits from other parties involved in the accident. This could result in further financial consequences.

Specific legal outcomes depend on the details of the accident, local laws and the decisions made by law enforcement, prosecutors and the court system. In any case, tailgating is dangerous, and maintaining a safe following distance is always advisable to prevent accidents and ensure road safety.