Vehicle Code 21750 VC - Passing on California’s Roads

There’s never a good time to open the mail and find that you’ve got some bad news waiting for you. However, if you receive a Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation citation, simply refusing to open it or acknowledge it won’t make it go away! Below, we’ve covered everything you need to know about this citation so you can know your options. Topics include:

What is Vehicle Code 21750 VC?

There’s no better place to start than with the source, so we’ll go ahead and do just that. The California legislation for this offense reads: “The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle, subject to the limitations and exceptions set forth in this article.”

This particular citation can get complicated because there are a lot of details that take us all the way from Vehicle Code 21750 VC to Vehicle Code 21759. The best way to do that is to list them all here!

  • Vehicle Code 21750 VC: This explains general passing on the left.
  • Vehicle Code 21751 VC: You’ll only be able to pass on the left if there is enough clearance to do so safely.
  • Vehicle Code 21752 VC: This introduces the restrictions on when you cannot pass on the left side.
  • Vehicle Code 21753 VC: If you are the one being passed, you’ll need to yield to the passing vehicle.
  • Vehicle Code 21754 VC: This introduces when you can pass on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Vehicle Code 21755 VC: You have strict limitations on when you can pass on the right side.
  • Vehicle Code 21756 VC: This introduces rules on when you can or cannot pass buses and streetcars.
  • Vehicle Code 21757 VC: You’ll have limitations on passing buses and streetcars, even the left-hand side.
  • Vehicle Code 21758 VC: You can pass slow-moving vehicles that are on grades.
  • Vehicle Code 21759 VC: You can pass animals, but always do so cautiously and obey the animal rider’s instructions or commands.

So, there’s a lot there, and that’s probably an understatement. It boils down to, when you read through the limitations and explanations on the subsections, that you should almost always pass on the left of the vehicle ahead of you, assuming that it is not a restricted area and that you have proper clearance to do so!

What does it mean to have violated Vehicle Code 21750 VC?

If you’re still feeling fuzzy on just how all of this will come together, let’s look at some examples so we can see how it’s all going to come together when it comes to actual driving and passing. This can help clarify a lot of it! Introducing Pilar, our fictional California driver will demonstrate these examples!

Pilar comes up on a car on a two-lane highway and wants to pass. There isn’t much space available in the left lane, but she squeezes herself in any way. In this case, she’d be guilty of a Vehicle Code 21751 VC violation because she must have proper clearance to pass safely.

Pilar would be guilty of a Vehicle Code 21752 VC violation if she tried to pass on the left while approaching the top of a hill, a curve, or is within 100 ft of a bridge or tunnel, railroad crossing, or intersection.

Let’s pretend that Pilar is in the car getting passed. If she didn’t yield to the car passing her and instead tried to speed up or otherwise make it difficult for the passing car to do so safely, she’d be guilty of a Vehicle Code 2173 VC violation.
Next, we’ll tackle when Pilar can pass on the right, legally. She’d be able to pass a car ahead of her by using the right lane if the vehicle ahead is making a left-hand turn if she is on a roadway that has 2+ lanes of moving traffic moving in the same direction and has a clear view of anything ahead, if she is on a one-way street, or if she is on a divided highway where traffic is one way on each side. If she passes on the right in situations other than those, she would be guilty of a Vehicle Code 21754 VC violation.

A Vehicle Code 21755 VC violation pushes that idea a bit further. Pilar can legally pass on the right in the instances above. Still, if she tries to do any of those approaches where the road is unpaved or otherwise not intended to be used for passing (like a shoulder reserved for emergencies), the Vehicle Code 21755 VC violation would apply.

Following that is a situation where Pilar would be allowed to pass stopped buses or streetcars. Vehicle Code 21756 VC states that she is allowed to pass when they are loading or unloading in designated zones. However, she must do so at less than 10 miles per hour.

Explaining more detail on passing buses and streetcars while in motion or stopped, Vehicle Code 21757 VC states that you can pass these vehicles if you are on a one-way street or are directed to do so by an officer.

Now, let’s say that Pilar comes up on a slow-moving vehicle on a down or upgrade. If that vehicle goes less than 20 miles an hour and Pilar has the clearance to do so, she can pass the vehicle on the left. However, she’ll have to go at least 10 miles per hour above the speed of the vehicle she is passing and complete the pass in no longer than ¼ of a mile. If she tries to pass but doesn’t meet those requirements, she’s guilty of violating Vehicle Code 21758 VC.

Lastly, for Vehicle Code 21759 VC. She’d be allowed to pass an animal (cautiously) on the left, as long as she obeys the command of the leader or rider of the animal. If for whatever reason, the person with the animals is indicating to the driver not to pass, Pilar must obey. If not, she is guilty of a Vehicle Code 217509 VC violation.

There are some exceptions to all of these different violations. Some refer to the idea that Pilar is acting outside of her own intent. For example, she skids out of control on a slippery stretch of road and veers into the left lane to prevent another vehicle from hitting her. Or, the car ahead of her stops so suddenly that it’s her only choice to keep from rear-ending that car. Another version of it being outside of her control is if someone in the car is forcing her to make these illegal passes, such as in a hostage situation.

In either situation, there would be no Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation because Pilar isn’t acting intentionally to complete the violation. She’s simply reacting to something that is out of her control.

Other exceptions include that the office responsible for the citation made an error. If Pilar had passed the car ahead of her in any of those ways we discussed above, with no interference in traffic or safety, she didn’t commit a violation.

What can I do about this violation?

Any one of these violations carries a $238 fine and also the addition of 1 DMV point to your driving record. On your citation notice, you’ll receive a court date to enter your plea and the option to attend traffic school if you’re eligible.

On your court date, enter your plea honestly. If you are knowingly guilty, your best thing to do is enter your plea, pay the fine promptly and then accept the punishment handed to you. If you are innocent, believing that you qualify for one of the exceptions, you can plead your case. It’s best to have an experienced traffic court attorney to represent you for the best results.

Other possible Vehicle Code violation connections

With all the different subsections of a Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation, you wouldn’t think there are any more possible connections, right? However, a few common ones can be added to one or several of these different types of violations. The most common additions include:

  • Vehicle Code 22350 VC: This is a general citation covering speeding excessively.
  • Vehicle Code 21651b VC: This citation focuses on you driving on the wrong side of the road.

Vehicle Code 23103 VC: You can receive this citation for reckless driving that can put others at risk on the road.

When you receive your citation, the peace officer or the court who issues the ticket may choose to add any or all of these to your existing Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation. They also can use any or all of these in place of the Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation if they feel that the descriptions and situations are more accurate. These carry their own punishments.

Is this ticket eligible for traffic school?

Attending an accredited traffic school such as MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL can be an option on your citation letter in the mail. This is offered in most cases if you commit the offense in a noncommercial vehicle, haven’t attended traffic school in the past 18 months, and received a moving citation. If you meet those requirements, you’ll be happy to know that a Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation is eligible for traffic school!

One of the most important perks to attending traffic school is that it will speed up the processing time of your ticket since you can simply agree to attend the school, pay your fine, and get to work. It will also mask the 1 DMV point that would otherwise be added to your record, which can increase your insurance premiums.
The other advantage of attending traffic school is that you’ll have a fun and entertaining way to brush up on your education for road safety. After all, we all forget a few minor details somewhere along the way, and MM TRAFFIC SCHOOL makes it fun to learn them again!

While old approaches to driver education are drab and dull, these new approaches will be a treat that will have you engaged and entertained so that the information is more memorable than ever!

Want to know more? Please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you out with questions, comments, or concerns. We can also give you more information on a Vehicle Code 21750 VC citation if you need it. If you need a more personalized approach to your ticket, you can contact the court that sent you the ticket!

How can I avoid a citation for a Vehicle Code 21750 VC violation?

While attending traffic school is an excellent idea in general, you’ll also want to take a moment to make sure that you don’t simply repeat the same mistake again. Here are some tips that will help you avoid any of the Vehicle Code 21750 VC violations that we discussed above since they can be confusing and full of restrictions that can be challenging to keep straight when you’re in the heat of the moment.

Firstly, regularly read up on the various Vehicle Code 21750 explanations, especially if you are going to be in a city center or somewhere you might have to put them into action. Having it fresh in your mind will help you make a judgment call at the moment and know that you are not violating anything.

Secondly, don’t feel pressured by other vehicles around you. Many drivers, particularly anxious ones, will feel pressure from the other cars behind them if they are debating whether or not they should pass a vehicle ahead of them. If you can do it safely and legally, do so. If you aren’t sure or don’t feel comfortable because you don’t have enough clearance, trust what you feel. The other car behind you will just have to wait.

Thirdly, you’ll want to ask yourself if passing this vehicle or animal is worth the extra 6 seconds it will save you. If you happen to be mistaken in the legalities, do you want to deal with the punishment for a simple 6 seconds of extra time? Always keep in mind: The various Vehicle Code 21750 VC violations refer to passing illegally. If you pass legally within any of those, the violation doesn’t apply!



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