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Old 07-22-2010, 05:27 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Right-of-way laws in parking lots

I just almost had an accident in a parking lot. It's the kind of lot with lanes containing diagonal parking, so people can drive in one direction in alternating lanes, and the other direction in the other lanes.

As I was looking for a parking spot, a car came speeding toward me, going in the wrong direction. Luckily we both stopped in time. But if there had been a collision, would the other driver automatically be at fault, since she was going in the wrong direction? Is the alternating-lane configuration just a custom or courtesy, or is it actually enforceable by law?
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2010, 06:03 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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typically, the traffic laws section of your State's vehicle code are not applicable to private roadways like a mall parking lot. So there is no "automatic" at fault since there's no violation to reference to.

That said, someone flagrantly violating highway code rules on private property is pretty much guaranteed to lose in court on a finding of negligence/fault, so I doubt the insurance company would fight it much.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:08 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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followup: I do not know Ohio's take on extending traffic code to private roadways, this is just in the generic sense
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:19 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
typically, the traffic laws section of your State's vehicle code are not applicable to private roadways like a mall parking lot. So there is no "automatic" at fault since there's no violation to reference to. .
Are you sure about that? It was my impression that the police could and did enforce rules such as unsafe driving, parking in fire lanes, failure to stop at stop signs in private lots.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:26 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
Are you sure about that? It was my impression that the police could and did enforce rules such as unsafe driving, parking in fire lanes, failure to stop at stop signs in private lots.

like I say, it's state law specific, but I would generally expect "traffic stuff" to not be enforceable on private property, whereas generalized safety things like "being reckless when you pilot a 3000 lb piece of steel" and "parking where the big red trucks are supposed to go" aren't really contemplated by "traffic stuff" and are more characterized as generalized safety statutes.


Quote:
(625 ILCS 5/11‑201) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑201)
Sec. 11‑201. Provisions of act refer to vehicles upon the highways‑Exceptions.
The provisions of this Chapter relating to the operation of vehicles refer exclusively to the operation of vehicles upon highways except:
1. Where a different place is specifically referred to in a given section.
2. The provisions of Articles IV and V of this Chapter shall apply upon highways and elsewhere throughout the State.
(Source: P.A. 76‑1586.)
Section 11 is "Rules of the Road"
Articles IV (not fleeing after an accident) and V (DUIs) are the exceptions.
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2010, 06:34 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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As far as I can tell, the only law in parking lots is don't park in the handicapped spaces, and that isn't enforced.
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  #7  
Old 07-22-2010, 06:35 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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That's an Illinois law, for those keeping score at home!
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:52 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
Are you sure about that? It was my impression that the police could and did enforce rules such as unsafe driving, parking in fire lanes, failure to stop at stop signs in private lots.
He's right. At least in Florida it is similar to his experience. Police Officers cannot generally enforce regular traffic rules on private property, such as parking lots. Owners of private property may enter into official agreements with the municipality that allows police to enforce traffic on that private property. So don't assume immediately that since you are on private propery, the officer has no authority to write your speeding ticket.

However, criminal traffic code like DUIs, Wreckless Driving, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and such enforceable because they are actual crimes. One is not even permitted to drive a person vehicle in a wide open field on his own land if that person is drunk. A DUI is criminal no matter where you are.

There are also certain other infractions that are specifically addressed by Statute, like parking in a Handicapped Space. SS 316.1959 basically says that Handicapped Parking violations will be enforced on public or private property.

As for Fire Lanes. I forget where and how the whole thing is worded. I don't think there is something specific for Fire Lanes, except that the jurisdiction for enforcement on private property includes any "official" signs. And since the Fire Marshal is authorized by Satute to designate fire lanes they are official areas and subject to enforcement even on private property.
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  #9  
Old 07-22-2010, 07:51 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Not absolutly ssure you can get ticked for fire lane. But an officer can have you towed.
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  #10  
Old 07-22-2010, 08:12 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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"Wreckless driving"? But that's what I aim for every time!
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  #11  
Old 07-22-2010, 08:21 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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In some areas the lot is public property or is posted that the police will enforce local traffic laws. Whether or not the latter is true depends on a lot of things.

In any case, the other driver is never automatically at fault. Even if they are breaking the law, perhaps you are also- or there are other circumstances. However, yes, in many cases there are certain general guidelines for the assignment of fault which are commonly applied in the case of minor accidents.

But for example, even if they were driving illegally, if you were drunk with a suspended drivers lic for DUI, it'd not go well with you despite what the other driver was doing.

IANAL.
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2010, 12:03 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
Not absolutly ssure you can get ticked for fire lane. But an officer can have you towed.
You most certainly can, here in Minnesota.

Or worse yet, the fire trucks could be called there. If they arrive and find you blocking a fire hydrant, they will just forcibly move you, and THEN call the cops to ticket what's left of your car.

I once saw this happen in a high rise apartment building. There was a small fire in one apartment (smoker started his couch on fire) and the Fire Department responded to the alarm. Someone had parked blocking of the fire hydrant in front of the building. When the first fire truck arrived, it just put it's big bumper up against the car, put the truck in low gear, and just shoved the vehicle out into the street. I was on my balcony 6 floors up, and I could hear gears breaking in that car's transmission, and could see streaks of rubber scraped off the tires. Then in about 2 minutes a cop arrived, and started writing tickets (I saw at least 2) on that car, and a tow truck arrived a few minutes later and towed the car off to the impound lot. I'm pretty sure that car owner paid some heavy fines, plus repair costs.

(And, in fact, the fire fighters never actually used that fire hydrant. They hooked up to it, but put the fire out with extinguishers without needing to pump from the hydrant. But I suppose they didn't know that in advance, and they seemed rather annoyed that someone was blocking the fire hydrant.)

Last edited by t-bonham@scc.net; 07-23-2010 at 12:03 AM..
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2010, 12:50 AM
Taenia spp. Taenia spp. is offline
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It was my impression that police can enforce the rules of the road on private property on those areas which are used as a public roadway. For example, police can't write you a ticket for speeding recklessly on your ranch, but they can in a mall parking lot.

See here.
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  #14  
Old 07-23-2010, 06:29 AM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taenia spp. View Post
It was my impression that police can enforce the rules of the road on private property on those areas which are used as a public roadway. For example, police can't write you a ticket for speeding recklessly on your ranch, but they can in a mall parking lot.

See here.
keep reading. that paragraph fleshes out what i'm saying.
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  #15  
Old 07-23-2010, 06:59 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taenia spp. View Post
It was my impression that police can enforce the rules of the road on private property on those areas which are used as a public roadway. For example, police can't write you a ticket for speeding recklessly on your ranch, but they can in a mall parking lot.

See here.
An anecdote that agrees with you: Many years ago I wrote parking tickets for the city I lived in, which would occasionally mean that I had to go to court. During one such the case before me involved a man who ran a stop sign in a store's parking lot and hit another car. He claimed that because it was private land, the sign was irrelevant. The judge decided against him ruling that it was indeed private land but it was also a public thoroughfare and therefore he would be expected to obey the traffic laws.
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  #16  
Old 07-23-2010, 08:44 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
Not absolutly ssure you can get ticked for fire lane. But an officer can have you towed.
I've seen them ticket cars parked in the fire lane at Kroger in Arkansas.
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  #17  
Old 07-23-2010, 10:18 AM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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I got run into in a shopping center parking lot (in Vermont). The woman who ran into me was ticketed for "entering an intersection without due care and cautiion" - the same charge she would have gotten had this happened at a conventional road intersection. So, at least in Vermont, the standard traffic rules apply to private parking lots.
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  #18  
Old 07-23-2010, 11:10 AM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post

However, criminal traffic code like DUIs, Wreckless Driving, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and such enforceable because they are actual crimes. One is not even permitted to drive a person vehicle in a wide open field on his own land if that person is drunk. A DUI is criminal no matter where you are.
You keep on using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
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  #19  
Old 07-23-2010, 01:29 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
You keep on using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer
"Wreckless driving"? But that's what I aim for every time!
ha ha!!
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  #20  
Old 07-23-2010, 02:34 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Agree with what's been said so far. In Ohio you can be, and will be, cited by police in privately-owned parking lots for various driving or parking offenses such as parking in a handicapped space without a proper placard, excessive noise (usually someone with his stereo cranked up and his windows rolled down), blocking a fire hydrant, shortcutting at intersections, etc.
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  #21  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:31 PM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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Here is our most recent thread on this topic. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=528118

In that thread, I linked to even more previous threads, and cited some cases from Ohio.
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  #22  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:32 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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I think we're talking about two different things here; the laws in parking lots, and what actually happens in parking lots. As I said earlier, I honestly don't think police around here enforce anything in parking lots. The only way the laws become relevant is, as people have said, you have an accident in a parking lot and have to try to deal with the aftermath. Parking lots are a free-for-all, and the best you can do is try to avoid getting hit.
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  #23  
Old 07-23-2010, 04:44 PM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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I actually had a case where my client was ticketed for horn abuse (you're only allowed to use your horn to warn other drivers of danger--who knew?) in a parking lot. I filed a motion to dismiss based on the fact that the statute only applied in roadways, and parking lots didn't fit the definition. The case settled before the judge ruled on the motion, so I never got a ruling.
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