State laws and definitions of moving violations differ so in some states a defective or unsafe vehicle citation may be considered a moving violation while in others it may not.

For example, the Texas Department of Public Safety chart of moving violations lists vehicles without required equipment or in an unsafe condition as a moving violation that will have driver responsibility points assessed to the person’s license if they are convicted of this offense. Operating an unsafe vehicle is also listed as a moving violation that is assigned points.

In Texas, a citation for specific defective equipment on a car would be a non-moving violation. For example, defective breaks, headlamps, tail lights, etc would be considered an equipment ticket which is a non-moving violation. It may be up to the discretion of the officer or court to determine if a defective equipment ticket will be a fix-it ticket or not. With a fix-it ticket normally if you get the defective equipment taken care and can show the court proof by your court date the citation can be dismissed.

South Carolina is different in that it lists driving an unsafe vehicle, unsafe equipment and defective parts cited on a vehicle under equipment violations and not as moving violations.

To find out how your state regards citations for either a defective part or vehicle or an unsafe vehicle contact your Department of Motor Vehicles.

 — Michelle Megna contributed to this story.


  1. Texas Municipal Courts Education Center. “Texas Administrative Code.” Accessed January 2023
  2. South Carolina Judicial Branch. “Common Traffic Violations.” Accessed January 2023.
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Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.