Guess Who "Ran a Red Light"?

There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not in my car, sitting at some god forsaken Valley intersection (Kester/Van Nuys; Burbank/Whitsett; Riverside/Fulton) and witness the sight of someone with their foot on the pedal, speeding through a red light at 40, 50 or 60 miles an hour.

I get furious. There is never a cop around to catch them. I think, “We should have a law that fines everyone $2500”. I thought this until yesterday. I wrote a letter about it:

At approximately 1pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2008, I was traveling about 35 MPH eastbound on Burbank Boulevard.

As I approached the intersection of Van Nuys Boulevard, I prepared to make a right turn on a red light. I observed that northbound cars on VNB had a left turn signal allowing them to turn westbound to Burbank Bl.

I made a decision to turn right on red, at approximately 15 MPH.

At that moment, going s/b on VNB, I heard a police siren go off and looked in my rear view mirror to see that I was being asked to pull over.

I was given a ticket for “failure to stop at a red light”.

I want to plead for leniency and/or dismissal of this ticket for the following reasons:

• I did not speed through an intersection.
• I made an educated decision, based on observation of the intersection, that it was completely safe for me to turn right on red.
• I was not speeding, and the ticket even states in writing, that I turned at 15 MPH.

I have been unemployed for over a year and can ill afford to pay a ticket in the hundreds of dollars and the increase in my car insurance that will come about due to this violation.

I was not driving aggressively, speeding or even endangering the lives of others, as most red light runners do. I did not speed at 50 or 60 MPH through an intersection.

I was stupid, in a split second decision at the intersection, to not stop COMPLETELY. But I used my best judgment to execute a turn SAFELY.

7 thoughts on “Guess Who "Ran a Red Light"?

  1. I once got a ticket after parking in a space designated for handicapped people, located in a shopping center LATE AT NIGHT, with almost NO other car for miles (or hundreds of stalls) around. I was working in a nearby free-standing store after hours, and decided to park in the designated space at the last minute (I was late to work), which I took even less seriously because it wasn’t even that close to the store’s front door. Moreover, I knew I’d be out of that store (and parking space) several hours before the dawn of the following morning.

    I tried to fight the parking ticket by making an appointment to see a traffic-court judge. I explained the situation to him, stated the reasoning behind my case, but he waved off my statement and I ended up stuck with a penalty of something like $380.00. However, at least this type of ticket — unlike one given to a person turning right without stopping on a red — doesn’t appear on a person’s DMV record.


  2. Yeah, you did what is known as the “Califnrnia Stop”; a bad habit which is really prevalent in the San Fernando Valley; which is why you got ticketed! Hey, rules are rules!


  3. dude, i know that intersection – what the f were you thinking – jesus. it is a red light, there are pedestrians that you may not have seen. stop driving like some illegal.


  4. That letter is a confession of guilt. Better to contest it, go to court, 50% chance officer won’t show; if he/she does show, politely offer a plausible story of how the officer somehow must have made an honest mistake as you came to a full and complete stop. If you can’t think of anything plausible, just deny everything and contradict the officer on every point. That might work too, if nothing else is going you way.


  5. Andrew, so sorry to hear what happened. It’s a complete tragedy. United States is finally catching modern technologies – more red-light cameras are being installed in intersections, so I read.


  6. I sympathize with you, Andrew. I recently contested a parking ticket, and have to wait about 6 months before the court date. You can likely do the same, though I’m not sure a judge would side with you. It’s always difficult to fight the bureaucracy….


  7. Whether you percieved it to be safe or not, the law states you must come to a full AND complete stop at a red light. And that stop MUST be before the limit line (the 1st white line, as you approach).

    Yeah, it sucks that you got popped. But you have had at least a year to brush up on the “rules of the road”… I believe the DMV has free handbooks to assist you to that end.

    On a personal note: cars that DON’T come to a full and complete stop at a red light/stop sign, prior to their entering the intersection is a huge pet peeve of mine.


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