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undefinedThe CA Vehicle Code (CVC), Sections 21800-21809Right of Way, discusses several instances when yielding the right of way is appropriate and necessary. For instance, entering or exiting the highway, at a yellow light, for pedestrians or emergency vehicles, etc. 

Understanding the Failure to Yield Laws in CA

Typically, the law enforcement officer (LEO) will write the ticket for violation of CVC 21800, Failure to Yield the Right of Way, and clarify the infraction in their notes. Do not admit guilt.  Always give your attorney a chance to dispute the violation in court. Your career and livelihood could depend on it.

For example, CVC Section 21801 states, “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.

Even though the LEO writes the ticket up as a violation of CVC 21800, that alone is not grounds for dismissal. Many police officers are unaware of all the traffic codes and correct numbers. You should consult with a CA traffic attorney about the circumstances of the “alleged” violation and dispute it. Commercial drivers do not have the option just to pay the fine, as their four-wheel non-commercial peers do.

In CA, drivers must yield the right of way to other vehicles, especially emergency vehicles, and pedestrians when making a U-turn, turning left or right, or merging into another lane of traffic. This means that if you fail to yield the right of way and cause an accident, you can be held liable for any damages or injuries that result.

They cannot attend traffic violator’s school to keep the conviction confidential from their employer or the DOT FMCSA. 

Defending Yourself in Court

If you're facing a failure to yield ticket in your CMV, the first step is to gather all relevant evidence, including photos, videos, and witness statements and consult a traffic attorney. Defending yourself in court is never a good idea. 

“The man who defends himself in court has a fool for a lawyer and a jackass for a client.” — Abraham Lincoln, though it has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin and others.

Whoever said it, the fact remains, it is unwise to represent yourself, and most commercial drivers would lose more in pay by taking time off to do it, than by paying a traffic lawyer. If you wouldn’t let a lawyer drive your truck, you shouldn’t expect a driver to get a dismissal in court.

The evidence can show that you were not guilty of a failure to yield or responsible for an accident, that the other driver was responsible for the collision, or that a pedestrian acted irresponsibly by jaywalking or crossing the highway without the benefit of a crosswalk.

When you hire a traffic attorney specializing in commercial driving cases, a skilled attorney can assist you to build a strong case and represent you in court, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.

Tips for Preventing Failure to Yield Accidents

Most commercial drivers excel at avoiding dangerous situations and do not press the issue about yielding when necessary, However, it bears repeating for novice drivers that the best way to avoid a failure to yield ticket is to practice safe driving habits and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Safe drivers check their mirrors and blind spots before making turns or merging into another lane. Additionally, they avoid distracted driving, which impairs their capacity to react appropriately and decide safely on the road.

Another way to prevent failure to yield violations is to stay alert and avoid driving when fatigued. Fatigue can impair your judgment and reaction time, making responding to unexpected situations on the road more difficult. Driving fatigue can also lead to an Out-of-Service (OOS) Order from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) or other inspectors at the chicken coop or weight station.

Receiving a failure to yield ticket in your CMV can have serious consequences for your driving record and your livelihood as a commercial driver. If facing a failure to yield ticket, it's imperative to take immediate action and hire a knowledgeable traffic attorney to increase your odds of a favorable outcome.

Consult a Commercial Driver’s Traffic Attorney Who Practices in Woodland, CA

Remember, it's always better to be cautious and yield the right of way than risk a potentially costly accident or moving violation. However, even the safest drivers have accidents or get accused of wrongdoing when the LEO was not in a good position to observe the facts.

Consult with Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300 about your commercial vehicle traffic ticket. Use their user-friendly contact form or email

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CVC Sections 21800-21809Right of Way.

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