Just missed the light making that left turn? The statute prohibiting turns against a red arrow is a subsection of the standard red-light violation with a few differences. The one similarity both sections share is that a first-time violation can cost you as much as $500.
The California Vehicle Code §21453(c) Red Arrow statute states:
“A driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal, shall stop at a clearly marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if one, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication permitting movement is shown.”
This statute breaks down into four different parts.
- “A driver facing a steady red arrow signal . . .’’ The critical point of the (c) section is that there must be a solid red arrow present before you enter the intersection. If the intersection is controlled by a signal that only has solid lights and no defined Red Arrow, the (c) section does not apply.
- “… shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow ...” The (c) section specifically states that you must make a movement that is prohibited by a red arrow. Specifically, this section prohibits left, and right turns in intersections that have lights with red arrows. So, if you are in a left turn lane and there is a red arrow for that left turn, you cannot turn left. If at the same time, there is a green circular signal for the through lanes, if you leave the left turn lane and proceed straight, you are not in violation of this section. However, you may be in violation of another code section.
- “… shall stop at a clearly marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection…” Similar to a standard red light violation, a driver must stop at the intersection, which is commonly marked by a limit line or crosswalk.
- “... and shall remain stopped until an indication permitting movement is shown.” A driver facing a solid red arrow must remain stopped until movement is permitted, as indicated by a green arrow or solid green light. Unlike the (a) section, which may allow a vehicle to make a turn after coming to a complete stop, the (c) section prohibits any movement until directed to do so.
An Officer to convict you of this statute, must be able to prove all four of these elements at trial:
- There was a steady red arrow signal;
- Your vehicle has not crossed the limit line or crosswalk into the intersection;
- You made a turn prohibited by the red arrow; and
- You did not wait for the light to turn green or when permitted before making the turn.
We at RPM Law understand the critical differences between the common red-light and red arrow violations. We are here to help contact us now at RPM Law. We have experience in helping thousands of people protect their driving records every day.