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  1. #1
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    Default Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line, CVC 22101 (D)

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of California. I pulled into a left turn lane at an intersection before I could see that there was a nol left turn from 3-7PM sign. I then saw the sign and did not know what to do. I looked to my right and determined that the traffic flow was too heavy to safely pull back into the straight traffic lanes so I waited until it was safe and made the illegal left turn. I was immediately pulled over and cited for "22101 (d) no left 3-7PM".

    I understand that the sign was posted and I violated the sign, but now I understand that even if it would have been "safe" for me to pull out of the left turn lane into traffic, that would have been considered an illegal lane change (or some other offense) because I would have had to cross the solid white line.

    Is this true? What should I have done once in the lane and seeing the no left turn sign?

    Can I argue not guilty (or maybe no contest) because I had no legal solution once I was in the lane?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    Here is the section for which you were cited:

    22101. (a) The Department of Transportation or local authorities in
    respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, may cause
    official traffic control devices to be placed or erected within or
    adjacent to intersections to regulate or prohibit turning movements
    at such intersections.
    (b) When turning movements are required at an intersection notice
    of such requirement shall be given by erection of a sign, unless an
    additional clearly marked traffic lane is provided for the approach
    to the turning movement, in which event notice as applicable to such
    additional traffic lane shall be given by any official traffic
    control device.
    (c) When right- or left-hand turns are prohibited at an
    intersection notice of such prohibition shall be given by erection of
    a sign.
    (d) When official traffic control devices are placed as required
    in subdivisions (b) or (c), it shall be unlawful for any driver of a
    vehicle to disobey the directions of such official traffic control
    devices.

    As to your other question about returning to traffic, as long as you were not in the intersection you should be okay to cross even the solid white line to get back into the straight lane of traffic.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  3. #3
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    cdwjava - What does that mean?

    "you should be okay to cross"

    What does the law say?

    In regard to being at the intersection, yes I was at a non-signaled intersection.

    Thank you for your advice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    Quote Quoting Jbu
    View Post
    cdwjava - What does that mean?

    "you should be okay to cross"

    What does the law say?
    It means that the solid white line between the left turn lane and the straight lane should not be a bar to SAFELY re-entering the lane.

    There is no specific prohibition to crossing that line.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  5. #5
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    Thank you for your response.

    What about the fact that at the time I did not see that it was safe to re-enter the straight lane due to heavy traffic and a hill blocking the view of approaching traffic? Is something like this ever considered as a defense to an illegal turn?

    I probably should have brought it up to the officer when he pulled me over, but he did not seem like he wanted to hear anything other than answers to his questions.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    Quote Quoting Jbu
    View Post
    Thank you for your response.

    What about the fact that at the time I did not see that it was safe to re-enter the straight lane due to heavy traffic and a hill blocking the view of approaching traffic? Is something like this ever considered as a defense to an illegal turn?
    I doubt it. You can certainly mention it to the court, but it would essentially be an admission of guilt with an explanation.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    Even though I very rarely disagree with Carl, I do have a slightly different opinion (and yes, I've expressed that on here before).

    Combining both subsection (b) & (d) of VC section 22101, we can conclude the following:
    "When an additional clearly marked traffic lane is provided for the approach to the turning movement, in which event notice as applicable to such additional traffic lane shall be given by any official traffic control device, it shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle to disobey the directions of such official traffic control device".

    Now, an "official traffic control device" is defined as follows (from VC 440):
    VC 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.

    So, assuming that the left turn lane in this case is properly marked with a left turn arrow which is painted on the pavement within that lane, and since such a "marking" is considered an "official traffic control device", any movement other than that which is indicated by such marking, is in violation of VC22101(d).

    So, in this case, the OP was not cited in violation of the time restriction posted on a sign (since he never actually completed the left turn), nor was he cited for crossing the solid white line (since there is no such law prohibiting such movement).... Instead, he was cited for failing to comply with the direction of the left turn arrow (i.e. marking) which is painted on the pavement.

    And, yes, I am fully aware that once someone enters that left turn pocket, this creates a -damned if you do and damned if you don't situation- or, more specifically, a conflict between:
    -> An official traffic control device -a regulatory sign- which prohibits a left turn during certain times
    AND
    -> Another official traffic control device -a lane marking- that requires the same action (the left turn).
    ... It does not mean that no violation occurred or that the officer somehow screwed up.

    One question that may impact my point of view is whether the sign displaying the time restriction is visible to a reasonably attentive driver prior to him/her entering the left turn pocket? I don't know....

    Will that have any bearing on how the will end up? I don't know...

    Ultimately, the decision is up to the judge.

    It would be interesting to hear how bruinPE will call this one!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    But, crossing the solid white line is not - by itself - a crime (an infraction). While I have seen and heard the argument you present, I fall back to the intent of the law as outlined on Penal Code section 4 where it says:

    4. The rule of the common law, that penal statutes are to be
    strictly construed, has no application to this Code. All its
    provisions are to be construed according to the fair import of their
    terms, with a view to effect its objects and to promote justice.

    I would not cite for such an instance where the driver was left with a choice of trying to correct a mistake as the OP apparently was.

    And, yes, the location of the sign would be a determining factor. If I believed that the driver left the turn lane solely because he saw me, and not because he had a real intention of obeying the sign, then I might cite ... maybe. Then a judge could decide. I have found a good many judges will be lenient if an infraction was committed, but for the right reasons, it was not done out of inattention, and there was no danger to others. But, that's just my experience.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  9. #9
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    Default Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    I'm with cdwjava on this one. Unless the OP had already passed the limit line/crosswalk into the intersection (which in itself would warrant a ticket since you started your left turn), the OP should have merged back into the through lanes when it was safe to do so. These kinds of situations are the reason why I despise installing time restricted turns where left turn pockets are present. While you can supplement the signs with time restrictions, you don't with the pavement markings. It's actually the reason why the Caltrans recommends installing changeable illuminated signs as opposed to normal signs with a supplemental plaque. Those illuminated signs are visible from a much farther distance and motorists are less inclined to pull into the pocket.

    As for disobeying the pavement marking... technically since there are time restrictions on the left-turn, those pavement markings are non-functioning during those hours. You essentially have a marked pocket that is serving no purpose during those hours. Dumb? Yeah, I know...

    Also, like cdwjava, I've spoken to a couple of CHP officers about this exact situation and they too would not ticket someone attempting to merge back into the through lanes.

    Oh, and one more thing... this is for turn pockets with one solid white line, not a turn pocket with a set of two solid white lines. (i.e. a gore point) If there is an intersection with time restricted left-turns and a left-turn pocket that has a set of two solid white lines... the engineer screwed up the design and created an entrapment situation since there is no law preventing a motorist from pulling into a non-functioning left-turn lane.

  10. #10
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    Wink Re: CVC 22101 (D) - Illegal Left Turn vs. Cross Solid White Line

    Quote Quoting bruinPE
    View Post
    I'm with cdwjava on this one. Unless the OP had already passed the limit line/crosswalk into the intersection (which in itself would warrant a ticket since you started your left turn), the OP should have merged back into the through lanes when it was safe to do so.
    OK, so I'll concede on that point..... For now at least, or until it comes up again. (as if its up to me).

    Quote Quoting bruinPE
    View Post
    These kinds of situations are the reason why I despise installing time restricted turns where left turn pockets are present. While you can supplement the signs with time restrictions, you don't with the pavement markings. It's actually the reason why the Caltrans recommends installing changeable illuminated signs as opposed to normal signs with a supplemental plaque. Those illuminated signs are visible from a much farther distance and motorists are less inclined to pull into the pocket.
    So, you do see a conflict!!!

    (And yes, I have come across both, the regular signs AND. The illuminated signs in and around the L.A. Area and the difference (in favor of the illuminated ones) is night and day regardless of whether it is night or day).
    Quote Quoting bruinPE
    View Post
    As for disobeying the pavement marking... technically since there are time restrictions on the left-turn, those pavement markings are non-functioning during those hours. You essentially have a marked pocket that is serving no purpose during those hours. Dumb? Yeah, I know...
    So you don't see a conflict!

    I don't know if I'd call it dumb.... But yeah, while it maybe easy for the engineer to decide "meh, non-essential" from behind his desk, to a driver approaching the lane/turn (and as one can deduce from the OP's description in his first post), it is easy to get the "Ohh ****, I'm stuck, what do I do now" feeling..

    Quote Quoting bruinPE
    View Post
    Also, like cdwjava, I've spoken to a couple of CHP officers about this exact situation and they too would not ticket someone attempting to merge back into the through lanes.
    Actually, and not to argue the point, but Cdwjava did say that there is (at least) one instance where he would cite for it.

    But with or without that, this is obviously a subjective call on the part of the design engineer, it is a snap/split second decision on the part of the driver (upon approach), and more often than not it'll end up being a discretion call on the part of the officer (based the driver's actions and traffic conditions)... etc. So IMHO, it would be safe to assume that you may find some officers who will cite for it thereby leaving it up to the court to decide.

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