Driving & Paranoia in Fucking California

Great. I move here with my “get out of my way,” “yellow light? Looked pink to me” northeastern attitude, and my housemates and others make me paranoid about driving here. “Don’t go through yellow lights,” they say, “especially at photo-ID’d lights.”

So, today, I’m out at lunch, and while a green arrow is turning yellow, I make the turn. At the same time I notice the guy in the other turn lane next to me jams on his brakes. Then I look up and see the photo sign.

So now I get to spend the next week or two paranoid that a $150+ ticket is coming in the mail.

Fuck.

Esprix

I’m with you, man. The crappy thing about those photo enforced lights is NOT that you get caught for maybe running the red light, and it’s NOT the horrendous cost of the ticket (although that’s pretty heinous in its own right), but it’s the ulcer that you get when you make an iffy jaunt into the intersection. You have that horror of “did I make it? did I not?” Depending on how much of a worry wart you are, that ought to be punishment enough!

:mad:

Esprix, you drive in California?

Wow…

[Denis Leary]

“I was in Vietnam!” “So what, I drive in California!” “Really?”

[/Denis Leary]

I agree. I think that putting enough fear into someone’s mind to make them stop at a yellow light that they shouldn’t could cause problems. Braking too fast is just as hazardous as driving through a yellow, in busy conditions.

Photo-cameras for driving offenses are a major pain. Though it is of little help to you, Esprix, you might be interested in knowing that in the UK, automatic fines for driving offenses caught on camera were recently ruled illegal, because those caught had no right of appeal. I assume that, if you are sent a fine, CA police won’t accept “The light was yellow, officer” as a valid defense. It sucks all around.

BTW, the principal at my college in Oxford was the first person to lobby for the introduction of speed cameras. Now you know who to blame.

Hell, when I lived in LA I once saw a cop yell at guy for not going through a red light.

Well now I’m not so worried. My housemates informed me of a couple things:

[ul][li]The cameras are only set up for one direction, but all four directions in the intersection were marked, so chances are it wasn’t the one I was going in.[/li]
[li]They not only have to get a picture of one of your license plates, but they have to get a picture of you driving as well, so;[/li]
[li]If you didn’t see a flash go off in your face, they didn’t take your picture.[/ul][/li]
I didn’t, so I think I’m safe.

But still - bleh! At least where they do have cameras, the intersections are very clearly marked.

In a way, though, I don’t mind - I’ve never driven anywhere else in the country and seen people just blatantly move out into the middle of an intersection, knowing they would get caught in the red light and block opposing traffic, and just not care. That holds up more traffic than anything, it seems to me, so if they can at least catch those, then I’m all for not running a yellow light once in a while.

I drive too offensively anyway.

Esprix

There is no noticable flash. As I understand it, to be ticketed, you have to cross the white line and enter the intersection after the light is red. If you were in the intersection waiting to turn when the light turned red, you’re in the clear.

I’m just wondering… which line’s the “Limit Line”? All I know is that if your front wheel is beyond the Limit Line, it’s legal. But on most crosswalks, there are two lines to denote the walk… and since you’re not supposed to have your car IN the crosswalk, I assume that the first line is the limit, but I could be wrong…

I imagine this is an important part of the “Was it yellow or red?” question, since the extra ten feet (on larger crosswalks) could make all the difference in the world.

Well, the California Vehicle Code, in its marvelously arcane way, gives the following as a definition of a limit line:

Not really satisfying, especially relating to your question (which is a good one). I hunted a bit more, and similar wording seems to come up whenever they talk about stopping (stop signs, traffic lights, whatever). Section 21543 deals with “Circular Red or Red Arrow” at a traffic signal, and it puts it thusly:

So, it’s the white line if there is one, otherwise the crosswalk if there is one, and failing that…a line extending from the curb? I guess?

Interestingly, they don’t really elaborate (at least not where I could find) on just what it means to “stop at a marked limit line.” Front bumper? Front wheels? I always took it to mean that your bumper was to be behind the line, but I may have just assumed that.

[aside] I took driver’s ed in Texas; at stop signs there, the effective limit line if one is not drawn is the stop sign itself. California doesn’t seem to play it that way, though: CVC Section 22450. [/aside]

I’ve been on the receiving end of one of these tickets in Virginia. Not one of the more pleasant experiences of my life.

There was a flash. It was like a flash of lightning on a clear day. Took me at least 1/2 a mile to figure out what had happened.

They (at least in VA) most specifically don’t need a pic of you driving to send you the ticket. Just the pic of the tag is enough. The owner of the car is assumed (in this instance) to be responsible for the way in which the car is operated.

What really cheesed me off was the ticket itself. The fine was only $50 but it also contained two points (black marks on your driving record for those of you in jurisdictions without them…get 15 in 3 years and you lose your right to drive) but it also stated that, if I paid the ticket immediately they would wave the points.

How is that different than blackmail? Don’t you DARE contest this possibly unconstitutional ticket or we’ll damage your driving record AND raise your insurance rates! We will! Count on it!

Bastards.

I’ve never gotten a ticket while taking public transit.

(Well, that’s not true. I’ve gotten regular-fare tickets, reduced-fare tickets, transfer tickets…)

Esprix, go to court and tell the judge, “I didn’t feel “one” with the yellow light. My shakras were a little off, and besides, I left my spiritual crystal on my meditation alter that morning.”

Hey, this is California - works everytime.

You are just the man, Matt!

Great answer!

My housemates, having gotten one of these before, says that there is a discernable flash, and they must get a picture of your face. I should check CA state law on this.

I was in the turn lane and saw the green turn arrow change from green to yellow, and I proceeded into the intersection; it may or may not have turned red while I was still in the intersection. My housemate claims that being anywhere in an intersection while you have the red, even if you started through the intersection while it was not, constitutes breaking the law.

We’ll see.

Esprix

Um… no. No, no, no.

In Virginia, the authority to use cameras to catch red-light runners derives from Va. Code § 46.2-833.01. Part F of that legislation clearly provides that only a monetary penalty, not points, can be assessed.

As to the question of whether the picture must show your face, section D of the same legislation provides:

  • Rick

Well, what do you know. One time I was driving in San Jose, and I stopped at stop light. A trolley came along and stopped in front of me, and a bunch of people started honking at me. It turns out that there was a special trolley limit line that was about a car length in front of the crosswalk. It was so small that I didn’t notice it, and so I stopped at the crosswalk, blocking the trolley. I pretty darn sure the limit line was less than twelve inches wide.

Esprix:

I have it on good authority that your housemate is wrong.

I think Bricker’s cite for the Virginia is fairly standard – they don’t have to get a picture of your face. Of course, California law could be different. Another thing is that the cameras are usually set to take a picture if something moves faster than a set limit. Otherwise, they would be taking pictures of people walking through the intersection. Chances are that since you were sitting at the intersection, you didn’t have enough speed to set it off.

Oh, come on people, this should be so easy. There is a very predominant white line on damn near any marked and lighted intersection. If any part of your car is not across this line when the light is red, DON’T GO. I believe Gallagher started this crap with his skit about 3 cars go after the light turns yellow. It’s bullshit. You know if you’re in the intersection or not when it goes to red, and if you’re not sure and you went, you were pushing it. You know you were ! Don’t deny it ! If you get caught pushing it, then maybe you’ll adjust your driving habits so that a line of people who have the green don’t have to wait for your ass.
Drive defensively and drive with caution. It works. I have many of hundreds of thousand miles scored without any banged up vehicles.

P.S. Esprix, I was making a short rant about people
continuesly abusing this shit. For what it’s worth, you have no worries on this one.