California Stop Sign Laws

Stop Sign Laws in California

California Stop Sign Law

The most common traffic tickets are for drivers who don’t abide by the California stop sign laws.

The law is such that drivers (motorcyclists, Uber drivers, trucks, etc.) are supposed to make a clear stop at each and every stop sign they come to, but most don’t which makes some roads in California even more dangerous.

Many drivers slow down as they approach a stop sign. However, if they don’t see another car or police officer, some will decide to risk cruising through the stop sign.

This is a very dangerous driving behavior that can cause unforeseen accidents. There could be an approaching person riding an electric scooter or electric bike, a pedestrian, bicyclist, or another car that the driver cannot see. In a residential street, running stop signs can lead to major accidents with vehicles backing out of a driveway.

There are almost 70,000 accidents each year in the US. This is due to a person running a stop sign, and almost 30% of those accidents result in injuries. The majority of these accidents and injuries could be avoided if people just followed the laws.


Common Injuries From Stop Sign Accidents

Most stop sign accidents happen when both drivers think they have the right of way. Also, another reason is that one driver was careless and didn’t check that it was safe to proceed.

Luckily, most of these accidents do not result in bad injuries. This is because the cars involved are either stopped or going at a very slow speed. However, a stop sign accident typically does result in some type of injury to whoever is hit.

If the cars are driving slow then the injuries are typically minor like cuts and scratches. However, when a car is driving at a higher speed, then, of course, injuries become much more severe.

These types of injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Wrongful death
  • Brain injuries
  • Concussion
  • Lacerations


Legal Liability for California Stop Sign Laws

More often than not, the driver without the right of way is responsible for stop sign accidents (but not always). California Vehicle Code 22450 VC states that drivers must stop at stop signs. California stop sign laws state:

The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within an intersection should stop at the limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there isn’t a crosswalk line or limit line before the crosswalk, then the driver has to make a stop just before the beginning of the intersecting roadway.
The driver of an automobile approaching a stop sign at a railroad grade crossing needs to stop at a limit line if marked, otherwise before crossing the first track or entrance to the railroad grade crossing.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a local authority could adopt any rules or regulations by ordinance providing for the placement of a stop sign at any location on a highway under its jurisdiction where the stop sign would enhance the overall safety of drivers and citizens.


California Stop Sign Laws & Who’s at Fault

Each stop sign accident must be viewed as an isolated incident.

This is why it’s important to contact the authorities and file a police report. In addition, document the scene of the accident to the best of your ability by taking photos, recording videos, and talking to witnesses.

If you were hit by a driver without car insurance or a driver’s license, then you should consider contacting our Orange County car accident attorney for a free case evaluation.

Insurance companies have their own way of determining who is at fault for car accidents. Additionally, police have their own way of determining fault, as well. Regardless, an investigation must be conducted.

Did You Both Stop?

According to California stop sign laws, when you come to a 4-way stop at the same time as other motorists, one driver does have the right-of-way. However, it’s confusing for most to determine who is allowed to proceed first.

If two vehicles come to an intersection at the same time, then the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right.

Were You On a Through Street?

Another scenario is when one motorist stops but then proceeds without checking to make sure the path is clear to move forward. 

If you were driving on a through street, stopped at a stop sign, then proceeded, you had the right-of-way. In this instance, it was the other driver’s responsibility to stop until the road was clear.

Did You Run a Stop Sign?

If you were driving, and you failed to stop at a stop sign, then you are going to be held accountable for the accident (at least to some degree). If the other driver clearly had the right-of-way, then you will be held completely liable.

There are instances where you and the other driver could both be partially at fault. In this case, it will take time to determine liability. These types of accidents are tricky. 

Did the Other Driver Fail to Stop?

If you were hit by another driver that clearly ran a stop sign, there is a good chance that they will be liable for the accident. For instance, driving through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop is 100% a violation of traffic laws.

Is a Rolling Stop in California Legal?

The short answer is that a rolling stop is not legal. In addition, you are at risk of getting a ticket if you don’t make a complete stop at a stop sign.

Commonly referred to as a “California Stop”, it has become very common for all California drivers to stop for a few seconds, then proceed. In fact, the act is most similar to yielding.


How Much Is a Stop Sign Ticket in California?

Research shows that the average fine for running a stop sign is about $150. However, most often people will contest the penalty in court.

If you feel you have a strong case and were the victim, then contact a California stop sign lawyer. Not only are these accidents costly, but they also affect your driving record. 


Causes of Stop Sign Accidents

Daniel Kim has years of experience dealing with various personal injury cases as they pertain to car accidents. Here are the most common causes of stop sign accidents:

  • Distracted Drivers – People who are using cell phones texting, or drivers who are negligently driving past a stop sign because they don’t care. This type of incident can cause a bad accident at the intersection. Uber and Lyft drivers, and delivery drivers for Postmates or Amazon or known for this because they are in a hurry and on the clock.
  • Weather – Things like snow and the sun’s reflection, or fog can make it hard to see the stop sign, which adds to the danger of driving in Orange County.
  • Driver Error – this happens often when a driver thinks he is at a 4 way stop (or All Way Stop) sign, rather than a 2 way stop. In turn, the driver cruises past the stop sign at the same time as another truck or a car driving through the intersection and causes an accident.
  • Obstruction – If the stop sign is blocked by trees, bushes, a city vehicles, or maybe just a parked vehicle that has broken down. All this can make it hard to see the actual stop sign.
  • Multiple Drivers Believe They Have the Right of Way – Commonly happens with teenagers or drivers unfamiliar with all the traffic laws. Then as each driver accelerates past their stop sign both cars collide and suddenly you have another traffic accident (potentially with injuries).