Politics & Government

Good news for bad drivers: California to cut fine for illegal right turns

SACRAMENTO — Make no mistake, the infamous rolling "California stop" on right turns is still illegal, and arguably more dangerous than ever.

But a bill on the governor's desk represents a mea culpa to drivers statewide who've been cited in recent years for turning right on red without coming to a complete stop:

They've been charged twice what seems to be fair.

The current $450 fine in many cities for a rolling stop at right turn is on the level with fines levied on drivers who blow straight through stop lights, or drive 25 miles per hour over the limit, or fail to pull over when emergency vehicles pass.

Assembly Bill 909, authored by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would knock that fine down to an estimated $220.

The bill breezed through the Legislature this week. If the governor signs it, it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

"It's what's fair," Hill said. "(Drivers) feel victimized."

Not all police and sheriff's agencies have been charging $450 fines. Some, including Roseville, have continued to use a code section that puts the right-turn-on-red fine at $227.

But as more cities and counties have turned to video enforcement cameras, more have begun ticketing at the $450 level, boosting budgets in the process, Hill said.

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