Vehicle Code 21659 VC - Unsafe Driving on 3-Lane Highway

Have you recently received a mailed letter letting you know that you’ve been cited for a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation? If so, now is a good time to get familiar with the basics of this particular violation. We’ll cover the basics below, such as:

What is Vehicle Code 21659 VC?

Generally, it’s preferred to start with the most basic information and work our way out from there. As far as understanding this violation, that means starting with the California legislation. They state that a violation of Vehicle Code 21659 VC is when: “Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes a vehicle shall not be driven in the extreme left lane at any time, nor in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway ahead is clearly visible and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signposted to give notice of such allocation. This section does not apply upon a one-way roadway.

If you’re like most people, you’re thinking to yourself: “That’s a lot of words. But what does it actually mean?” At its easiest, it basically means that there are set rules on how you can use the center and left-most lane when you are driving on a 3-lane highway. You must use the center and left lanes correctly, or you will face a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation.

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 21659 VC?

While it sounds simple enough, a proper understanding of the best use of those lanes can be hard to determine at times. For the best results, let’s put a fictional driver in California, Khloe, to work and see what happens.

Khloe is driving to work and has made up her mind that the highway is going to be full of inferior drivers that she’ll get stuck behind, and they will make her late for her shift. In order to make sure that she doesn’t end up being late, she decides to stay in the center lane of the 3-lane highway and swishes around from center to left lane as needed to “dodge” around the other inferior drivers. In this case, Khloe is guilty of a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation because the law states that you must stay in the right-most lane unless you are passing a vehicle. Simply switching lanes and staying in the center lane isn’t permitted.

Let’s try another situation. Khloe knows that she is going to be making a left turn in about 5 miles. She doesn’t want to have to fight with traffic when the time comes to properly move into the left lane. So, she gets into the left lane on the highway 5 miles early and simply stays there until the time comes to complete her turn. In this case, she’s guilty of a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation because she is staying in the left lane for no reason. Obeying Vehicle Code 21659 VC would have been if she moved into the left lane only when needed to successfully complete the turn.

There are some exceptions to this violation that Khloe can use as her defense, should she require it. For example, if she had no choice but to change lanes to avoid a collision or an accident. Let’s say that Khloe is in the right-hand lane, and the car in front of her pops a tire and starts fishtailing and swerving. To protect herself, Khloe quickly moves into the center and then left-most lane. Because her only reason is to prevent an accident, she is innocent of a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation.

In another situation, Khloe is looking to complete a left turn. At the proper time, she moves from the right hand to the center lane Then from the center lane to the left-hand lane. While she s switching lanes and is “dodging” cars, it’s allowed since her goal is to complete the left turn. 

Lastly, Khloe can move lanes from right to center to the left, to the center, to the right again as long as your intention is clear and the traffic around her is at a safe distance. That is, she has to have a reason (passing cars, for instance), and she can only complete the changes if the traffic around her is at safe distances for her to complete her maneuvers.

What can I do about this violation?

When you receive this violation notice in the mail, you’ll be given a court date on which you need to appear and enter your plea to the violation in traffic court. In your letter, you may be given the option of attending traffic school to help you recover from this violation, and we’ll discuss the more later on. 

If you are found guilty of this violation, the punishment is a fine, typically around $240, and the addition of 1 DMV point to your driving record. For the sake of simplicity, it’s always best to plead honestly to a violation hearing. If you are guilty of the offense, plead as such and accept the punishment.

However, if you are innocent of the citation and qualify for one of the exemptions listed above in our exemptions, having a traffic court attorney can be really helpful for ensuring that you have the strongest case to help prove your innocence.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

Many Vehicle Code violations are closely related because they focus on the same areas of the driving code. In the case of a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation, there are quite a few related codes that could be connected to receiving this violation. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Vehicle Code 21651a VC: This particular violation refers to crossing a divided highway where it is not permitted to do so.
  • Vehicle Code 21750 VC: This violation refers to the idea that it is only allowed to pass other vehicles on their left rather than their right.
  • Vehicle Code 21751 VC: Receiving this violation means that you have not left enough clearance to pass safely.
  • Vehicle Code 21752 VC: This code is when you pass on the left in situations where the law prevents you from doing it.
  • Vehicle Code 21753 VC: This code violation is when drivers who are being passed do not yield/allow the other driver to pass them.
  • Vehicle Code 21754 VC: This code violation is when you pass on the right in a situation where it is not permitted to do so.
  • Vehicle Code 21755 VC: This further details the rules and restrictions related to passing on the right rather than the left.
  • Vehicle Code 21756 VC: This code violation states that you are passing a bus or streetcar in a situation where you are not permitted to do so.
  • Vehicle Code 21757 VC: This is much the same as Vehicle Code 21756 VC, though it gets more specific on passing busses and streetcars as far as what’s allowed and what’s not.
  • Vehicle Code 21758 VC: This code is related to when you can and how to pass slow-driving vehicles when driving on graded terrains.
  • Vehicle Code 21759 VC: This code refers to the laws related to safely and properly passing animals.
  • Vehicle Code 22109 VC: This violation is related to the behavior suddenly stopping without any kind of signal beforehand. 

As you can see, there are a lot of similar and possible vehicle code violation connections to Vehicle Code 21659 VC. Of course, not all of these would typically be added to the violation. The peace officer issuing the ticket will decide if any of these common violations apply to the situation surrounding your ticket.

Any of these can be used in addition to Vehicle Code 21659 VC or used in place of Vehicle Code 21659 VC if the peace officer decides that’s what is best. These all carry their own penalties and punishments, which will be added as well.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

Traffic school eligibility will depend on a few factors. The first one is whether or not it was a moving citation. The second is if you committed the violation in the corporate vehicle. Thirdly, whether or not you attended traffic school in the last 18 months. Assuming you committed the violation in your private vehicle and have not attended traffic school in the past 18 months, a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation is eligible for traffic school.

There are quite a few advantages to considering the attendance of an accredited institution, such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL. The first one is that it is going to help you reduce the processing time of your Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation. If you agree to attend traffic school, you can simply pay your fees to the court and start.

Secondly, attending traffic school is going to help you mask the point that you would otherwise have added to your driving record. This marking is often one of the reasons why many people will consider traffic school. This helps keep your insurance premiums at their current rate and keep your record clean in case of future offenses.

Thirdly, attending a traffic school is fun! Yes, really. MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL is not your classic classroom setting where it’s endless droning on and on. This is an innovative and modern environment that educates drivers using humor, engaging explanations, and modern concepts. This helps every class enter the world of diving much more educated and prepared for the roads and their restrictions.

Curious as to how our lessons are right for you? Or how can we help you out with your Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation? Want more information on the ticket and/or programs? Please feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to fill you in on all of the details. If you’d like a more personal approach to the ticket you received, you can also contact the court that issued the ticket.


How can I avoid a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation?

To protect yourself from getting a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation and possibly the other long list of potential violation connections, you’ll want to work preventatively. Thankfully, it’s not hard to avoid a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation because it focuses on simply remembering the rules of classic 3-lane highway driving.

When you merge onto a 3-lane roadway, you must limit yourself to the right-hand lane 90% of the time. The center and left lanes are for passing and completing left turns, rather than serving as a “direct lane” to wherever it is that you’re going. Being a responsible driveway means not sliding in and out of lanes with no regard for others and their own adherence to the laws.

As well, when you are looking at the idea of passing vehicles by merging into the center lane, you must always do it carefully so that you have the proper clearance that you need to do so. Once you pass the vehicle that you need to, move back over. Or, continue to the left lane if you need to get ready for a left turn.

What it all comes down to on a 3-lane highway is that you must drive responsibly, carefully, and safely. This includes both your own driving, as well as having regard for the other drivers around you and their own use for the lanes. Just because others are swerving around and driving dangerously on a 3-lane highway doesn’t mean that you should be, too! Please remember: Qualifying for a Vehicle Code 21659 VC violation means that you are intentionally driving dangerously on a 3-lane highw\ay by using the center and left lanes incorrectly. If you have no choice but to do so for reasons outside of your control, or you are using the highway lanes correctly, the violation wouldn’t apply.



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