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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    3

    Default Cited for California VC Section 21461(A) but No Sign Prohibiting U-Turn

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    Is a citation for violation of CA VC 21461(a) viable in court when the offending act was a U-turn across two pairs of solid yellow lines where there is no sign prohibiting a u-turn? CA VC 21461(a) does not seem to govern U-turns and double yellow lines, correct? Is there precedent for this? What are the chances of getting such a citation under these circumstances dismissed?

    For those familiar- location is westbound Westminster Blvd., just west of Bolsa Chica Rd., along the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach.

    From CA DMV: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21461.htm

    V C Section 21461 Obedience by Driver to Official Traffic Control Devices Obedience by Driver to Official Traffic Control Devices

    21461. (a) It is unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to fail to obey a sign or signal defined as regulatory in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or a Department of Transportation approved supplement to that manual of a regulatory nature erected or maintained to enhance traffic safety and operations or to indicate and carry out the provisions of this code or a local traffic ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic ordinance, or to fail to obey a device erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official.


    This did not occur to me until after completing online traffic school. Considering changing plea to not guilty to save on the fine. That could get complicated, though. Court due date it 5/16/12. Thank you very much in advance for a reply before then.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cited for California VC Section 21461(A) but No Sign Prohibiting U-Turn

    How did you already complete traffic school for this offense? Doesn't that require being convicted (either in court, in a TBD, or by pleading guilty and paying the fine)?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    3

    Default Re: Cited for California VC Section 21461(A) but No Sign Prohibiting U-Turn

    I went before the court and plead for Traffic School and requested/was granted a 90 day extension to complete traffic school and pay all money due. At the end of the course, I realized that I may be innocent of what I was cited for, assuming double yellow lines are not considered a "sign or signal" under 21461(a).

    Good course too. www.Traffic101.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Cited for California VC Section 21461(A) but No Sign Prohibiting U-Turn

    Quote Quoting swerve48
    View Post
    Is a citation for violation of CA VC 21461(a) viable in court when the offending act was a U-turn across two pairs of solid yellow lines where there is no sign prohibiting a u-turn? CA VC 21461(a) does not seem to govern U-turns and double yellow lines, correct? Is there precedent for this? What are the chances of getting such a citation under these circumstances dismissed?

    For those familiar- location is westbound Westminster Blvd., just west of Bolsa Chica Rd., along the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach.

    From CA DMV: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21461.htm

    V C Section 21461 Obedience by Driver to Official Traffic Control Devices Obedience by Driver to Official Traffic Control Devices

    21461. (a) It is unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to fail to obey a sign or signal defined as regulatory in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or a Department of Transportation approved supplement to that manual of a regulatory nature erected or maintained to enhance traffic safety and operations or to indicate and carry out the provisions of this code or a local traffic ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic ordinance, or to fail to obey a device erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official.


    This did not occur to me until after completing online traffic school. Considering changing plea to not guilty to save on the fine. That could get complicated, though. Court due date it 5/16/12. Thank you very much in advance for a reply before then.

    Here's a link to an approximate location showing the double-double solid yellow lines: http://g.co/maps/x2gmy


    Quote Quoting swerve48
    View Post
    I went before the court and plead for Traffic School and requested/was granted a 90 day extension to complete traffic school and pay all money due. At the end of the course, I realized that I may be innocent of what I was cited for, assuming double yellow lines are not considered a "sign or signal" under 21461(a).
    There is a chance that the traffic school already submitted a completion certificate on your behalf. At which time, and unless you still have any monies that are due still, your case maybe closed. In that case, you'll have a few hoops to jump through to make that happen, as you suggested.

    I don't think its worth the try and here is why:

    Those lines were painted by local authority (I highly doubt Caltrans -a state agency- has jurisdiction over that segment of Westminster Blvd).

    In reading 21461, you can see that it specifically mandates compliance with "a sign or signal defined as regulatory in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or a Department of Transportation approved supplement to that manual of a regulatory nature erected or maintained to enhance traffic safety and operations or to indicate and carry out the provisions of this code or a local traffic ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic ordinance", and no, double solid lines are neither a sign (a shaped sheet of metal with words/symbols), nor are the a signal (like a traffic light electronic or mechanical as defined under VC 445)...

    STILL, 21461 goes on to prohibit: fail[ing] to obey a device erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official.

    And by "device" the code section is clearly talking about a "traffic control device" which as clearly defined by VC 440:

    440. An "official traffic control device" is any sign, signal, marking, or device, consistent with Section 21400, placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction, for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic, but does not include islands, curbs, traffic barriers, speed humps, speed bumps, or other roadway design features.


    And, lines on the roadway are in fact considered "markings" and "markings" fit under ^ the ^ definition ^ of a device, and in particular a traffic control device.

    In this case, and while collectively, two sets of double solid yellow lines are indicative of an "island" or an "imaginary traffic barrier that one shall not cross", they are not included in the exclusions in that same the definition which is clearly descriptive of "physical" features not just "visual".

    The confusion could have been avoided had the officer cited 21651(a)(1) or (2)

    21651.
    (a) Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful to do either of the following:
    (1) To drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section.
    (2) To make any left, semicircular, or U-turn with the vehicle on the divided highway, except through an opening in the barrier designated and intended by public authorities for the use of vehicles or through a plainly marked opening in the dividing section.

    ^This^ is also where you can make the connection between "double parallel lines" and "markings"...

    Now, the fact that 21651 applies does not negate the applicability of 21461... Its just easier to understand with 21651.



    Oh, and nice catch by Mr Satellite: Its a plane, its a bird... What the heck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    3

    Default Re: Cited for California VC Section 21461(A) but No Sign Prohibiting U-Turn

    "The confusion could have been avoided had the officer cited 21651(a)(1) or (2)"

    ...or if the author of 21461(a) would learn to make use of a period more often.

    Thank you. That was quite thorough.

    I didn't notice that plane before. Funny place for it, over the Naval Weapons Station.

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