Getting a traffic ticket can be frustrating, especially if believe that you didn't do anything wrong. California is famous for Double Yellow Line tickets (also known as 21460 a, 21460 b, or 21460 c tickets. This article will help you fight you double yellow line ticket and hopefully not pay a fine.
What is a 21460 (A) double yellow line ticket?
A 21460 (a) ticket is issued for crossing the double yellow lines that divide streets and highways. Most states use these lines as passing indication markings. The purpose the double yellow lines in California is also for passing indication, but California has been known to give out tickets for crossing yellow lines when turning.
What does the law 21460 say?
A simple Google search will bring up California Law 21460. The law states:
(a) When double parallel solid lines are in place, no person driving a vehicle shall drive to the left thereof, except as permitted in this section.
(b) When the double parallel lines, one of which is broken, are in place, no person driving a vehicle shall drive to the left thereof, except as follows:
(1) That the driver on that side of the roadway in which the broken line is in place may cross over the double line or drive to the left thereof when overtaking or passing other vehicles.
(2) As provided in Section 21460.5.
(c) Either of the markings as specified in subdivision (a) or (b) does not prohibit a driver from crossing the marking when
(1) turning to the left at any intersection or into or out of a driveway or private road, or
(2) making a U-turn under the rules governing that turn, and either of the markings shall be disregarded when authorized signs have been erected designating off center traffic lanes as permitted under Section 21657.
(d) Raised pavement markers may be used to simulate painted lines described in this section when the markers are placed in accordance with standards established by the Department of Transportation. But most citizens are not lawyers and these laws can be tough to understand. Thankfully, the California Department of Transportation puts out a publication known as the California Drivers Handbook.
What does the California Driver Handbook say?
The following is quoted from page 31 the 2011 California Drivers Handbook.
Two solid yellow lines indicate no passing. Never drive to the left of these lines unless you are:
• Turning left at an intersection.
• Turning into or out of a private road or driveway.
• In a carpool lane that has a designated entrance on the left.
• Instructed by construction or other signs to drive on the other side of the road because your side of the road is closed or blocked. Two sets of solid double yellow lines spaced two or more feet apart are considered a barrier. Do not drive on or over this barrier or make a left turn or a U-turn across it except at designated openings (see diagram).
So the rule 21460 states that you can turn across double yellow lines in certain cases. The most interesting is the first one, intersections. We can look up the California definition of intersection, but it is written by lawyers and very difficult to understand. Thankfully the DMV has a definition of intersections in the California Drivers Handbook
An intersection is any place where one line of roadway meets another roadway. Intersections include cross streets, side streets, alleys, freeway entrances, and any other location where vehicles traveling on different highways or roads join each other.
Basically this tells you that any street, road, driveway, alley etc. is an intersection. As we found out from the California Drivers Handbook, it is legal to cross double yellow lines to turn at an intersection and basically anywhere you can turn is defined as an intersection. So yes, It is legal to turn left across yellow lines in California according to the California Drivers Handbook that is issued by the California DMV.
How to get out of a 21460 (A) double yellow line ticket?;
You are already on the right track. Research the law that you are being ticketed for. In this case 21460 a, b or c, making a left turn across double yellow lines is legal according to the California Drivers Handbook. Make copies of the specific pages in the handbook or get one from the local DMV. Take this information to court to show proof that turning left across yellow double lines is legal in California. If you live out of state you can file a Request for Trial by Written Declaration and send this information, along with a not guilty plea, in the mail.
Why does California issue 21460 double yellow line tickets?
As we all know the state of California is broke. They know that most people will simply pay the ticket and not try defending themselves in court. The rules have been poorly interpreted by some jurisdictions and prosecuted anyway. I live out of state and had never heard of this rule as in most states it is legal to make left turns across double yellow lines. I was issued a $230 ticket for a rule that I did’t even know I was breaking. And after my extensive research I found out that the rule is poorly written and I actually did not do anything wrong.
What about multiply double yellow lines?
No, you cannot turn left across multiple double yellow lines spaced 24 inches apart. Consider two sets of yellow lines to be like a wall. This is a guaranteed ticket and getting out of it will be hard to do.
Disclaimer: This advice is for information purposes only and is the author’s interpretation of the law. Read the California Law and follow it. Seek advice from a lawyer or traffic school for proper interpretation of the law.