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FAILURE TO SIGNAL - VEHICLE CODE 22107


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PETER F. IOCONA
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LAGUNA HILLS, CA. 92653




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FAILURE TO SIGNAL - VEHICLE CODE 22107

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FAILURE TO USE A TURN SIGNAL – VEHICLE CODE § 22107

The mere failure to use a turn signal when making a lane change or turn is not a violation of the vehicle code unless another vehicle “may be affected by the movement.” See CVC § 22107, which reads as follows:

No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

VEHICLE CODE § 22107

No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

Washam v. Peerless Automatic Staple Mach. Co. (1941) 45 Cal.App.2d 174 provides great guidance in understanding CVC § 22107. In that case, the Court held that a motorist about to turn left is not required to leave his automobile and scan the horizon or by trigonometrical computations calculate the yards distant of the approaching automobile to insure his own safety against a collision with one who ignores the law and the rights of others lawfully within an intersection. In short, a left turn should be made only when it can be done with reasonable safety. 

In People v. Carmona (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1385 the Court held that there was no reasonable possibility that motorist violated the statute requiring a turn signal “in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement,” in turning right without signaling when a police car was 55 feet away from motorist and approaching in the oncoming lane, and thus there was no reasonable suspicion supporting a traffic stop, where there was no potential for the turn to affect the police car, and there were no other vehicles in the vicinity.

VEHICLE CODE § 22108

Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

Courts routinely hold that a driver’s failure to signal 100 feet before a turn provides basis to suspect a violation of the traffic laws and support traffic stop. U.S. v. Dupas (Cal.9th 2005) 126 Fed.Appx. 845, 2005 WL 697044, Unreported, for additional opinion, see 403 F.3d 1041, subsequent determination 417 F.3d 1064, amended 419 F.3d 916, certiorari denied 126 S.Ct. 1484, 547 U.S. 1011, 164 L.Ed.2d 261. Motorist not giving signal for right turn at the intersection until after she began turning did not comply with the statute. Cleveland v. Petrusich (App. 3 Dist. 1931) 117 Cal.App. 71, 3 P.2d 384. Moreover, the Court in Dupas determined that an officer who observed a vehicle swerve repeatedly within its lane and touch lane lines several times over a two-mile stretch had reasonable suspicion to stop vehicle in belief that driver was under influence of intoxicants, particularly where swerving occurred while vehicle was being driven 10 to 15 miles under speed limit and driver failed to signal 100 feet before a turn.


CONCLUDING REMARKS REGARDING VEHICLE CODE SECTIONS 22107 AND 22108

Sometimes a police officer will cite CVC § 22108 as the basis for the stop, which requires the activation of any “intended signal of intention” at least 100 feet prior to the turning movement. However, CVC § 22107 provides that the signal of intention is only required if another vehicle may be affected by the turning movement.


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