Ask the Motor Cop | Is the California rolling stop as common as it seems? 


Question: I see so many people rolling through posted stop signs. I see people who drive past them like they weren’t even there. I do understand why we have them. Did you see a lot of this when you were working? 

— Max 

Answer: I sure did, Max. And believe me, I issued many citations for this. It’s a common violation that we frequently observed. I know that people do realize the importance of stop signs. However, many people seem to think that that doesn’t apply to them because it might have appeared to be safe. It’s not a yield sign. I think it’s just carelessness on their part.  

California vehicle code 22450: “The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection SHALL stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no limit line or crosswalk, the driver SHALL stop at the entrance to the intersecting roadway.” 

Note that the vehicle code defines the word stop as, “All cessation of movement of a vehicle.”  

A common response from a violator, after being advised why they were being pulled over, was many times, “I stopped.”  

I have come to realize that many people really felt that they stopped. They didn’t, and let me say this, I never paid attention to drivers who almost stopped and rolled through at very low speeds where their wheels almost stopped rotating. The ones I concentrated on were the ones who blatantly disregarded the stop sign.  

And, I’m pretty sure I speak for most other police officers regarding this.  

Max, thank you for your question and drive carefully.  

Jerry Schlund, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, is a retired Los Angeles Police Department motor officer with over 24 years riding. He was a certified radar instructor — both laser and doppler — and was instrumental in California vehicle code amendments. He was a traffic school instructor for 25 years. Have a question for the motor cop? Send your questions to [email protected]       

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