Question: Who enforces traffic regulations on private property? When you see a stop sign at, say, the Tacoma Mall, do you really have to stop? If a private property owner puts up a 10 mph sign, does that amount to a suggestion, or do Tacoma police officers back it up? a reader
Answer: We put the question to Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool, who said law enforcement officers do not enforce traffic regulations on private property.
The Tacoma Mall, for example, is private property, and those stop signs and lane designators are placed by the property owner, Cool said. They are basically suggestions to assist the traffic flow and prevent foreseeable accidents.
If an accident occurs on private property and there are injuries, Cool said, police would have authority to investigate the accident. In that case, regular rules of the road such as failure to yield to the vehicle on the right, exceeding a safe speed limit or failure to stop at an uncontrolled intersection would be used to determine the driver at fault.
There is no special arrangement with the city, Cool said. It would be the same if someone left the roadway and drove across your lawn and struck your house. The driver could be cited or arrested depending on the circumstances of the incident.
Rob Carson: 253-597-8693