Vehicle Code 21457a — Failing to Stop Before an Intersection

There’s perhaps nothing more frustrating than getting a citation in the mail. Unless you count not knowing what the citation is for. That is, indeed, worse. Have you received a Vehicle Code 21457a citation and want to get to date on what it actually is? Below we’ll cover what you need to know, including:

What is Vehicle Code 21457a VC?

Let’s start with as basic as we can get, as far as the definition is concerned. The California legislation determines that a Vehicle Code 21457a violation is: “When a red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, a driver 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 at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it, and the driver may proceed subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.”

You are absolutely right if you feel that the legal wording is unnecessarily complicated. The wording is certainly very confusing. In simple terms, this violation occurs when a driver stops at either a clearly marked stop line or before a pedestrian crossing at a stop sign or red light. The driver must stop fully, as per the law, before driving onward through the intersection. The emphasis in this code is on stopping at the line or before the crosswalk.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 21457a VC?

When simplified, a Vehicle Code 21457a violation makes a lot of sense. However, it’s a common violation nonetheless. So, let’s put a fictional driver, Gale, into a few situations and understand how simple it is to earn a Vehicle Code 21457a citation.  

As Gale is driving to work, he’s enjoying a radio show and is paying a lot of attention to it. Coming up to a stop sign with a stop line, he slows down but doesn’t stop at the sign itself. He stops a few feet after it, does his stop, and then drives on through the intersection. While it seems harmless enough, Gale is guilty of a Vehicle Code 21457a violation because he’s required to stop at the marked stop line, and he didn’t.

Similarly, Gale comes up to a red light and knows that it’s going to change to green very soon. So, instead of stopping at the marked line, he inches up over the crosswalk so that he is closer to the intersection so he can through it after when the light changes. While there are a lot of issues with doing this (including potential danger to pedestrians and traffic turning from the intersection), the Vehicle Code 21457a violation would be specifically because he crossed over the stop line to stop instead of staying at the marked line.

Lastly, Gale comes up to a red flashing light with no stop line. He rolls past the sign and stops further on into the intersection. This would be a Vehicle Code 21457a violation because he is required to stop at the sign, not in the intersection. Even though there is no marked stop line, he would still need to stop before entering the intersection.

There are a few exceptions to this violation that Gale could qualify for. An exception to a Vehicle Code 21457a violation would be if Gale had stopped entirely at the marked stop line before inching up to see better through the intersection before proceeding. The inching up to check is not a bad thing — it’s actually a good thing — but he still would have to stop first at the marked line.

Another exception would be if Gale had no choice but to roll past the stop line. For instance, he was getting out of the way of an emergency vehicle, or he slipped on an oil slick. In this case, he wouldn’t be able to stop properly or safely, so his only option was to roll past the line to complete the stop.

The last exception would be if the peace officer who issued the violation made a mistake and Gale had stopped fully at the line, or at the sign, before rolling forward for a better view. This kind of exception can be difficult to prove, but it is still a very valid exception.

What can I do about this violation?

If you receive this violation, you’ll see on your citation that you’ll have a court date. You may also see the option to attend traffic school, which we’ll talk about later. You must appear on that court date to give our plea to the court.

If you are guilty of the violation, then you’ll want to plead that way. If you say that you are innocent and know that you are guilty, you are only wasting everyone’s time. You’ll be expected to pay a $542 fine plus court fees. You’ll also have 1 DMV point added to your driving record.  

If you are innocent of this violation, such as qualifying for the exceptions above, then you can (and should) plead innocent. Since it can be difficult to prove your case, it’s a great idea to have an experienced traffic attorney to help you do so in the courtroom. 

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

In many cases, there are similar vehicle codes that can be added to a citation. If they apply, they can be added to yours. The most common ones with a Vehicle Code 21457a violation are:

  • Vehicle Code 21453: This is one of the red light violations, and it refers to disobeying the laws specific to red lights. 
  • Vehicle Code 21461: This violation is one that refers to deliberately disobeying posted traffic signs and signals.  
  • Vehicle Code 21800: Receiving this violation is due to failing to yield as required (to the sign, in this case).
  • Vehicle Code 21950: This similar violation is connected to failing to yield but is specific to a pedestrian.

The peace officer or court may choose to add any or all of these to your Vehicle Code 21457a violation citation. It often depends on the experience resulting in the citation and the opinions of the peace officer or the court official. As well, they can use any or all of these in place of the cited Vehicle Code 21457a violation if they are more applicable. Keep in mind that all of these violations carry their own fines and punishments as well!

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

We briefly mentioned traffic school above. Your citation notice may let you know that you can choose to attend traffic school as an option for your ticket. Generally, you can attend traffic school if you don’t commit the violation in a commercial vehicle, you receive a moving citation (referring to a violation that involves driving rather than bureaucratic rules), and you haven’t recently attended traffic school. You’ll be happy to know that a Vehicle Code 21457a violation is eligible for traffic school!

There are many advantages to attending an accredited traffic school, such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL. The first one for many is that agreeing to attend traffic school often means that the driver can skip the court date and simply pay the fine and start the program. It saves time and stress. The second benefit is that it can help the driver mask the 1 DMV point that would otherwise show up on their driving record. Since this can impact insurance rates and your overall driving profile, if a peace officer was to check, this would be a great advantage.

The last advantage, and the most pressing one, is that it can make you a much better driver! Taught in modern forms through mixed media, humor, and interesting topics, traffic school makes driver education fun and memorable. It means that graduating drivers will remember the lessons they learned much better than those who learned from classic options, and it means better drivers.

If you have questions about the programs at MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL or about your Vehicle Code 21457a violation itself, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to fill you in on what you can expect with our classes and your violation. If you need a more personalized approach to your citation, you can also reach out to the court that issued your citation.

How can I avoid a Vehicle Code 21457a VC violation?

The best way to make sure that you can avoid any lost time at court or a fine is to avoid a Vehicle Code 21457a violation entirely. We’ve listed the advice below to help you understand just how to protect yourself, your vehicle, and your DMV record!

Firstly, remember that a stop sign or a red flashing light always means stop. Not “slow down” or “yield.” A full, 3-second stop. While many drivers don’t do a full 3-second stop, it is very important to stop completely at the sign or light. When you’ve done that, follow your driver’s education on how to cross through the intersection (or wait for the light to change, depending on what it is that you’re at).

Secondly, always stop at the sign or stop line first. Even if you know the stop line is too far back for you to get a good look at the intersection, you must stop first at that line (or before the crosswalk), and only after you do that can you roll forward to get a better view.  

If you are at a stop light, don’t proceed into the intersection if the light is right. Stop at the line and stay there. When the light turns, that extra few feet (which puts you over the crosswalk) isn’t going to make any noticeable difference to getting to your destination faster! Keep in mind: Receiving a Vehicle Code 21457a violation is about deliberately avoiding stopping at a stop line or before a crosswalk at an intersection. If you aren’t able to stop there for a reason outside of your control, the violation doesn’t apply!



San Diego Ticket Fighter