Column: Is turning right on a red light your California birthright? Absolutely not! In fact, according to the state, the right to drive with your hands over your lap is a California civil right, not a constitutional one.
Is that right even granted by our Constitution or our state constitution?
California is the only state that expressly prohibits the use of one’s vehicle for travel where any person can be located within the vehicle except as necessary to give the vehicle safe operating space.
According to Section 1.15.1 of the California Vehicle Code, your right to operate a vehicle is an inalienable civil right and protected by the Constitution of our state and federal government. It is inalienable and not subject to any regulatory or punitive law.
You are legally allowed to make a U-turn on a red light. You are not allowed to drive with the hazard lights on.
However, the DMV is not your friend.
Let’s discuss some of the reasons it is illegal to drive in California with the hazard lights on.
The California Vehicle Code
Section 1.15.1 of the California Vehicle Code makes it unlawful to drive with the hazard lights out in California. And, if you’re reading this column, and you’re reading it on a smartphone or computer, you already know that.
The California Vehicle Code, Title 6, Chapter 3, subchapter B, Section 1601, provides “that the state’s primary goal in the regulation of motor vehicle traffic is to promote highway safety.”
This means not only is it unlawful to operate a vehicle with the hazard lights on, but it is also illegal to fail to wear seat belts.
The California Vehicle Code, Title 8, Chapter 1, Part 1 provides, “Every motor vehicle used or drawn upon a highway within this state, including every auto used or drawn except as provided in Section 1620, shall be equipped with two or more red reflectors, or a red reflective outline or device for the front or rear of the vehicle … The display of a vehicle’s lights or display or the outline of its lights shall not constitute a hazard to other traffic.”