Everything You Need to Know About Fix-It Tickets and Correctable Violations

If a law enforcement officer issues you a correctable violation (also known as a fix-it ticket), it means that your vehicle has an unsafe feature, mechanical failure, or other problem that renders it unsafe for the road. The good news about these types of infractions is that you will face no penalties or fines as long as you fix the problem within the time period specified. You will also need to have your local police or sheriff's department sign off on the ticket to verify the problem was reversed by the deadline.

Grace Periods and Deadlines

It's crucial that you heed the deadline specified to correct the infraction or you will face stiff fines, possible points against your license, and future citations for the same issue. On the fix-it ticket you receive, you will see your court appearance date at the bottom. Your court date is the deadline by which you have to fix the specified issue. In some jurisdictions, police officers will allow as few as five days to remedy the issue. Other areas may give drivers up to 30 days for correction. The length of a grace period depends on where you live as well as the severity of the issue.

For instance, a citation for a missing front license plate is easily correctable within five days, so the officer might set your court date accordingly. By contrast, a cracked bumper may take weeks to take care of, even if you act promptly. Therefore the officer may give you 30 days to fix the problem. When in doubt about how long you have to reverse the specified problem, check the court date listed on your citation.

Fix-It Tickets and Accident Liability

Officers only issue these types of citations when a vehicle has defective, dangerous, or missing features or equipment that make it a potential hazard on the road, not when that vehicle has actually caused injury or damage. As discussed above, when you receive a fix-it citation, you have a certain number of days to remedy the issue—the grace period. But what happens if you have an accident during the grace period of the infraction?

In short, if the problem with your vehicle had anything to do with the collision, you can expect your insurer to place at least some of the blame on you, which in turn results in higher premiums. You will also likely receive some sort of citation at the scene for any negligence that resulted from your vehicle's issue. For instance, if you received a ticket because your vehicle has no rearview mirror and you end up backing into another vehicle in a parking lot because you can't see, you can expect to get a cited for failing to yield. The same rules for assigning fault still apply, but you are much more likely to be at fault for a collision if something is seriously wrong with your car. On the bright side, you will not receive another citation for the problem as long as you are within the grace period of your first ticket.

How are Insurance Rates Affected?

A fix-it ticket is typically classified as a nonmoving violation, which usually does not affect your premiums. Examples of nonmoving violations include parking infractions, failing to renew your registration, and driving with a burned-out headlight. These are considered less serious than moving violations, such as speeding or running a red light, and thus typically do not affect your driving record or your insurance rates. How a correctable violation affects your car insurance rates may, however, vary depending on your provider and state law.

Keep in mind that this type of citation is not something you should ignore. If you fail to solve the issue for which you were cited within the time frame allotted, you will face fines and possible points against your driver's license. In the worst-case scenario, you might have an accident because of the issue with your vehicle. If that happens, you can count on being found at least partly responsible because of your faulty equipment. You can also count on your auto premiums rising after the fact. Rather than risk higher premiums and a collision, solve the problem noted on the citation as soon as you can.

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