Legal Question: Stop Signs

A friend asked me an interesting question. As you may be aware, stop signs are not enforceable (here in Canada) when on private property (like a shopping mall). So, a police officer cannot give you a ticket for running a stop sign if you do so (this shouldn’t be confused with not being responsible for other charge and certainly civil responsibility). What my friend asked me is whether a police officer could give him a ticket for running a stop sign in a parking lot heading out onto a public road (i.e. at the exit)?

My thoughts on this:

  1. The sign is on private property, therefore it not enforceable.

  2. The sign is dealing with the entry onto a public road, and is therefore enforceable.

Any lawyers have the answer, if not in Canada then in your jurisdiction?

I don’t think it has anything to do with the stop sign per se. Unless there’s some control on the traffic passing by the mall exit, the person who “runs the stop sign” will get a ticket in Texas. Stop sign or no, they failed to yield the right of way.

Presumably, John, the question is directed at an instance of ‘running’ the stop sign when there is no traffic to which one must yield.

In California, it appears that one must comply with a stop sign erected at the ‘intersection’ of a private exit onto a ‘public highway’. See generally California Vehicle Code §§21350 to 22450. I may be wrong; I never bothered with traffic laws from the attorney standpoint; I always stop before entering a roadway whether a stop sign exists or not.

I can’t think of any stop signs like that. (Now I’ll have to look for them.) But, I suspect if they are at the “intersection” of a public highway, then they were erected on the public easement/right of way, and therefore have to be put there or required there by the government, so that would be the logic of that law.

IIRC: There is an implied stop sign at the border between private property and a public way. This may vary upon location. The mall sign may just be a reminder.

Imagine traveling down a road at 45 MPH when a Bozo drives out of his driveway without stopping, and you are unable to avoid hitting him. Could he contend it’s your fault because he was in the intersection first?

Yeah, Aren’t you supposed to stop when leaving a driveway, Stop sign or no?

My dad really likes to pay no attention to those “right turn only” signs next to driveways. After all, it’s on private property…

New York Vehicle & Traffic Law sec. 1173 provides:

Perhaps there is a similar law in your province, Glitch.

Here in the majical Land of Cheese, the "Drunkest Place on Earth" the Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled that traffic laws can be enforced by the police on private property if the property is openly accessable by the general public, and that includes traffic control signs.
I believe the case was generated by a guy who was arrested for drunk driving in the parking lot of a shopping center when a city cop saw him drive through a stop sign which was placed by the mall. The drunk driver argued that since the property was private, and that the sign was not placed by a municipality and that he did not violate anyones right of way or go onto public road ways, that the police had no authority or probable cause for the traffic stop. But because mall lots are open to the public is why the court came to it’s decision. Kind of weird, as this decision actually gives shopping center management authority to make law by where they place stop signs and what they set parking lot speed limits at.

My recollection of shopping mall parking lots is that the stop signs within the lot are different looking. Usually smaller and sometimes a white squrare with a small stop sign on that. But when you are leaving the mall the sign there is a regular one that was put up by the city.
So that is why you have to stop when you are leaving.

Thanks everybody for answering. Sounds to me like the general consensus is that it is enforceable. I guess I could always hang around the mall parking lot and the next time I see somebody go through one I can give them a ticket and see what happens in court. :wink: