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  1. #1

    Default Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

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

    I was recently cited for a violation of VC 21655.5(b), driving solo in the carpool lane. This was in the I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego, which are also FasTrak lanes. The car I was driving at the time is registered with FasTrak by its license plate (as all vehicles that use FasTrak have to be), but I did not have the transponder in the car.

    The CHP officer cited me for VC 21655.5(b), as opposed 23302(b). I would think 23302(b) would be the correct VC. I didn't know I had to have the transponder in the car; I thought the plate registration was good enough, but the CHP officer told me there are no cameras in the I-15 Express Lanes. Ignorance is no excuse, I know, and I am more than willing to pay the $238 fine for VC 23302(b), since not having the transponder was my screw-up. I am NOT, however, willing to pay $491 for VC21655.5(b), and I want to fight it.

    VC 23302(b) states: "For vehicular crossings and toll highways that use electronic toll collection as the only method of paying tolls or other charges, it is prima facie evidence of a violation of this section for a driver to drive a vehicle onto the vehicular crossing or toll highway without a transponder or other electronic toll payment device associated with a valid Automatic Vehicle Identification account with a balance sufficient to pay those tolls."

    It refers specifically to "vehicular crossings and toll highways," as opposed to Express Lanes. VC 23254 states: "A 'vehicular crossing' is any toll bridge or toll highway crossing and the approaches thereto, constructed or acquired by the Department of Transportation under the provisions of the California Toll Bridge Authority Act."

    The Express Lanes are obviously not a "vehicular crossing" according to that definition. So, my question is: Can it be argued that Express Lanes that display the FasTrak logo and collect tolls can be considered a "toll highway?" (As opposed to a purely toll road, such as the South Bay Expressway (the toll portion of CA-125) or CA-73.)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,042

    Default Re: Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

    Either citation would be valid. These are both toll and preferential lanes. You can go to court and try to negotiate your way down to the lower fine (neither carries a point), but the court is not obliged to do that.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Either citation would be valid. These are both toll and preferential lanes. You can go to court and try to negotiate your way down to the lower fine (neither carries a point), but the court is not obliged to do that.
    Thanks! I'm just wondering if, in trying to negotiate for the lower fine for VC 23302(b), if these lanes would qualify as a "toll highway." The term "vehicular crossing" is defined (VC 23254), but I have not found a VC that defines "toll highway." Thus, it will probably end up being up to the judge's discretion.

    My goal is to first prove that I did not violate 21655.5(b) by showing proof of my FasTrak registration. If this fails, then I will ask the judge for a reduction in fine in person (I'm doing TBWD first).

    Quote Quoting bnewall1
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    Thanks! I'm just wondering if, in trying to negotiate for the lower fine for VC 23302(b), if these lanes would qualify as a "toll highway." The term "vehicular crossing" is defined (VC 23254), but I have not found a VC that defines "toll highway." Thus, it will probably end up being up to the judge's discretion.
    Actually, I may have just found my answer to the above.

    VC 611: "A 'toll highway' or 'toll road' is a publicly owned way or place open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel which use requires the payment of a fee."

    Thus, the I-15 Express Lanes, when used by a FasTrak customer, would qualify as a "toll highway."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,042

    Default Re: Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

    Vehicular crossing means bridge or tunnel. You found the definition of Toll highway which is just a highway for which a toll is collected. Highway would include a single lane or group of lanes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Vehicular crossing means bridge or tunnel. You found the definition of Toll highway which is just a highway for which a toll is collected. Highway would include a single lane or group of lanes.
    Thanks, that's what I thought as well. While it may or may not convince a judge, at least it gives me something to use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

    You have a good plan. The signs on I-15 simply display FasTrak logo, they do not state you have to have a transponder in the car. And because 21655.5(b) specifically talks about posting signs on the freeway and drivers having to obey those signs, it is a good argument that you are not guilty of violating it, because you were indeed registered with FasTrak.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cited for Violation of VC 21655.5(B) vs. 23302(B)

    Quote Quoting zeljo
    View Post
    You have a good plan. One question: what exactly do the signs on the freeway say about Fastrak? Do they explicitly say you have to have a transponder in the car?
    No sir, the sign doesn't say anything about a transponder. It's too bad I can't just paste a picture in here (I have a still from my dash cam video)! It has the HOV diamond logo (with no number inside) at the top left, then the FasTrak logo (with the word "FasTrak" below it) at the top right, and then below those two, the word "ONLY", and then below that, "LEFT LANE."

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