'California Stop' Is Costing Californians Millions In Tickets

Image: Uncredited (AP)
Image: Uncredited (AP)

The “California Stop,” also known as the “California Roll,” is the act of not coming to a full and complete stop at a stop sign. Whatever it’s called where you live, it’s illegal and can get you a $200+ ticket and can land you in hot water with your driving record when it’s issued by an agency with authority. One California agency however, with no type of traffic authority has been issuing thousands of rolling stop tickets by secretly recording drivers.

KTLA reports that California’s Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority issues around 17,000 rolling stop tickets each year, bringing in over $1.1 million in revenue annually. What exactly is the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority? According to the agencies site, it’s described as “a local public agency dedicated to the acquisition, preservation and protection of open space, wildlife habitat, and urban, mountain and river parkland that is easily accessible to the public.”

So how exactly does a state park agency that oversees over 75,000 acres of park lands in Southern California issue that many tickets? In secret, as KTLA described:


At 12:15 p.m. on a warm, sunny day last July, Andrew Rice’s adult kid did a rolling stop in a Prius while leaving the Temescal Canyon parking lot near Pacific Palisades.

What Rice’s kid didn’t know was that he was being filmed as he did so. And the recording would result in a $100 “administrative citation” from the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, or MRCA…

The problem with these tickets — aside from being issued by a state park agency with no real authority to issue them — is that they’re technically not citations. It seems their sole purpose is to bring in revenue for the MRCA as one Prius driver who was ticketed discovered. “They’re engaged in a deceptive practice of pretending to enforce the motor vehicle code when they don’t have the authority to do that, and they’re tricking people into paying these tickets,” they told KTLA.

Jamie Court, president of the Los Angeles advocacy group Consumer Watchdog says even though they’re not actually tickets with no legal consequence, they can still hurt drivers financially. And that’s what forces people to pay them. “But it could go on your credit score and hurt your chances of getting a mortgage or a loan, and no one wants to deal with that. So people just pay it rather than fight it.”

What’s worse is that nothing has been done to stop it. A spokesperson for the agency told KTLA that the cameras and citations are about “public safety.” It seems though it’s more about collecting money with no oversight. “This is a program that is meant to make income for the park system. It’s a terrible abuse. And the fact that it’s gone on for a decade or more without anyone doing anything is really shameful,” Court said.

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