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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    5

    Default Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

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

    Got a ticket along SR 20 by CHP. Officer cited VC 21461 for failing to obey sign for turnouts, which sounds like it could be VC 21656 instead. I checked the remaining signs after the citation when I resumed driving and they say "slow vehicles must use turnout", and in one case where it applied "slower vehicles use right lane" or something like that. At citation, I noted just 2 cars behind me excluding the officer.

    Wondering if sign doesn't specifically state it, is it still applicable for having 5 cars behind you to truly need to use the turnout? The area I was cited around had curves, so you had to slow down and speed up. It didn't make for nice use of turnouts from my point of view.

    Sadly and interestingly, I was later driving on highway 1 from northern California and was in the middle of a line of cars, more than 5, yet that area had not turnout signs for a long section of highway 1, but there were some small turnout like areas (without signs). No officer was around to cite people. Wonder where they decide to do patrols & signs, that section of highway one seemed more appropriate to cite than SR 20. I wasn't driving dangerously slow.

    Wondering how likely it is to successfully contest that citation.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    Quote Quoting 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.
    There are two parts to this law:

    Part 1. 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

    Part 2. It is unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to fail to obey a device erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official.

    If you disobeyed a "Slower traffic keep right" sign (MUTCD R4-3) on a two lane portion of CA20 than the sign was defined as regulatory in the MUTCD. Part 1. or Part 2. would apply.

    If you disobeyed both an R4-12 and an R4-13 and there were 5 or more vehicles behind you, than the signs were defined as regulatory in the MUTCD and Part 1. or Part 2. would apply.(note that only one r4-12 needs to be posted for the whole "area")

    If only an R4-13 was posted or there were less than 5 vehicles behind you, than this is not considered regulatory in nature per MUTCD. Part 2. may apply. (CA MUTCD 2B-35)

    Based on what you have said it sounds like only Part 2. may apply.

    If this is the case an element of the crime is that the sign was "erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official". The officer lacks foundation to be able to testify who the sign was erected by so therefore he must submit evidence that it was erected in such manner. There is likely public record that indicates this but it is doubtful that he will be prepared with this evidence. The court cannot make the presumption of how the sign was erected, especially if you object to the introduction of the evidence. If you are able to articulate this argument properly, you could more than likely defend yourself.

    That being said I have driven the entire length of 20 on several different occasions. In both the area near the coast and the area near i80 there are super long stretches of curvy 2 lane/1 direction roads and it is the only route of travel for many people. If you want to drive CA20 or a similar route a little more slowly than everyone else that's fine but you must be mindful of the drivers stuck behind you for extended lengths of time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    The MUTCD sign is regulatory even if there is only one car behind you. You are a slower car.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Paso Robles, California
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    506

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    Quote Quoting B.Frank
    View Post
    If this is the case an element of the crime is that the sign was "erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official". The officer lacks foundation to be able to testify who the sign was erected by so therefore he must submit evidence that it was erected in such manner. There is likely public record that indicates this but it is doubtful that he will be prepared with this evidence. The court cannot make the presumption of how the sign was erected, especially if you object to the introduction of the evidence. If you are able to articulate this argument properly, you could more than likely defend yourself.
    The court will never require the officer to provide documentary evidence that the sign was "erected or maintained by lawful authority of a public body or official". The court can simply take judicial notice of this fact pursuant to Evidence code 452(h), which states:

    "Judicial notice may be taken of the following matters
    (h) Facts and propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy."

    If the defendant feels the sign does not follow the proper guidelines, it is up to the defendant to prove why the sign is improper; this is part of his defense and is his responsibility.
    *****
    I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    326

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    If there were fewer than 5 vehicles behind you at the time, you are not guilty and absolutely should challenge the citation. Quote the CA MUTCD for the judge (commissioner), in particular this section:

    Section 2B.35 Slow Vehicle Turn-Out Signs (R4-12, R4-13, and R4-14)
    Support:
    01 On two-lane highways in areas where traffic volumes and/or vertical or horizontal curvature make passing
    difficult, turn-out areas are sometimes provided for the purpose of giving a group of faster vehicles an opportunity
    to pass a slow-moving vehicle.

    Standard:
    02 A SLOW VEHICLES WITH XX 5 OR MORE FOLLOWING VEHICLES MUST USE TURN-OUT
    (R4-12) sign (see Figure 2B-10) shall be installed in advance of the first turn-out area to inform drivers
    who are driving so slow that they have accumulated a specific number of vehicles behind them that they are
    required by the traffic laws of that State to use the turn-out to allow the vehicles following them to pass.
    Refer to CVC 21656.
    Support:
    03 The specific number of vehicles displayed on the R4-12 sign provides law enforcement personnel with the
    information they need to enforce this regulation.
    03a Refer to CVC 21656 for Turning out of Slow-Moving Vehicles.
    03b The R4-12 sign is not intended to be used in advance of each individual turnout.
    03c See Section 3B.101(CA) for more details.

    ...


    It's just common sense. Cops can't give you tickets whenever they feel you're too slow and should use the turnout - heck, everyone would be racing in that case, as just one car behind you might get you a ticket. It would actually CREATE a driving hazard. This particular cop either did not know the law - that is way more common than you would think - or he was just fishing. He may not even respond/show up for your challenge, unless he's ready to testify there were in fact 5 vehicles behind you.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    He wasn't charged with violating the slow vehicle turn out sign.

    He was charged with not adhering to the "slower traffic keep right" sign. since he was slower than the people he was impeding, he is technically guilty. It doesn't take any more than ONE car behind him. He needs to address what he WAS charged with, not what he feels it would be more appropriate that he was charged with.

    This road has longer "climbing" lanes that he was obliged to move right into, I suspect (I looked over HWY 20 going up into the mountains, thought the poster didn't exactly indicate where).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    326

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    Police officer cannot interpret the signs as he sees fit. He has to go by CAMUTCD definitions and explanations. Granted, he may not know this, just like you apparently don't, flyingron, but that is the state of the law (and common sense), and will be provable and admitted in a fair court.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    3,303

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    Quote Quoting zeljo
    View Post
    Police officer cannot interpret the signs as he sees fit. He has to go by CAMUTCD definitions and explanations. Granted, he may not know this, just like you apparently don't, flyingron, but that is the state of the law (and common sense), and will be provable and admitted in a fair court.
    You and the OP seem to be the only folks interpreting anything. The OP was cited for violation VC 21461. The OP is assuming it was for the turnout signs and you are going along with it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,257

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    Quote Quoting zeljo
    View Post
    Police officer cannot interpret the signs as he sees fit. He has to go by CAMUTCD definitions and explanations. Granted, he may not know this, just like you apparently don't, flyingron, but that is the state of the law (and common sense), and will be provable and admitted in a fair court.
    Can you post without the ad hominem attacks? The sign is "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT." There is nothing int he CAMUTCD that indicates that you need five cars behind you. In fact, the non-normative text accompanying that implies the opposite of what you are saying.

    The five car thing applies to VC 21656. The signs for that are SLOWER CARS USE TURNOUTS. He wasn't charged with this. In fact, while the OP hasn't returned since I inquired, it appears all the stretches of HWY 20 that would seem to apply don't have turnouts, but rather longer "climbing" lanes provided for traffic that can't maintain speed on the incline.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    5

    Default Re: Ticket for VC 21461 for Something More of VC 21656

    I might have missed noticing some signs or not, but the officer cited me for "failure to obey the turnouts", not to keep right. I only saw short lanes on the right show up once or twice on that trip. Nearly all the time, it was turnouts and so were the signs. And not the type you expect either. Dirt, gravel, and tiny space dipping down from the paved road, like you have to turn out safely (e.g. rough brake/stop) into them if you were going a reasonably fast speed, which I kind of had to do later on when said officer was behind me (he had stopped someone else later along the road after me) and I sure didn't want to be cited again. Wish they had bigger turnouts on Hwy 20, but I guess being a mountain road you get what you get.

    I may be assuming but if officer wrote in the citation text for the VC, failure to obey "turnout", sounds very equivalent to VC 21656. If not, what other VC would it relate to? Since VC 21461 doesn't stand alone by itself right?

    And regarding the area of Hwy 20, it was written SR 20 MPM 23 for what I could make of the handwriting.

    And the turnout signs stated "slower vehicles must use turnout". Didn't mention car limit though. But it also doesn't mention car behind you / tailgating distance. Which exact sign # and VC does this correspond to if not VC 21656?

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