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Are Stop Signs In Parking Lots Legitimate In Oregon?

Obeying traffic rules and signals is a part of life if you want to avoid the costs of getting ticketed, as well as a potential driver’s license suspension. Beyond the fact that driving over the speed limit or running red lights is against the law, disregarding the rules of the road also puts you at an increased risk for car accidents or injuries. Oregon motor vehicle laws are designed to protect drivers and control traffic flows on roads and highways through the state, but are they legitimate in parking lots or on private property? This is a frequently debated topic among drivers. A closer look at the state motor vehicle code and the interests of public safety indicate obeying all traffic signs and signals is the best way to go in order to stay on the right side of the law and avoid accidents and injuries.

Rules of The Road In Parking Lots and On Private Property

While some argue that the Oregon Motor Vehicle Code specifically states certain laws apply only to public roads and highways in the state, it is important to understand how the word ‘highway’ is used.

Under the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 801.305) a highway means any public road, street, or thoroughfare, and includes bridges, viaducts, or any other structures that are open for use or are intended to be used by the general public. When it comes to applying traffic laws and enforcing traffic offenses, the term ‘highway’ also includes areas open to the public that are owned by private agencies, such as homeowner’s associations. This means that while a stop sign posted in your neighbor’s driveway may not be enforceable, one posted in a cul de sac or in the local grocery store parking lot is, as both are generally open to the public. While you may not see the police regularly stopping drivers for disregarding these signs, the fact that a driver fails to stop at one will be a factor in the event an accident occurs.

The Truth About Parking Lots Accidents

Many of us have had the experience of being in a public parking lot and seeing a fender bender or near accident occur. The fact is that these accidents are extremely common, and can result in serious and potentially life threatening injuries. The latest crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that non-traffic accidents, such as those that occur in parking lots, on private roads, and in driveways, injure more than 90,000 people and result in close to 1,000 fatalities each year. In addition to jeopardizing their own and their passenger’s safety by disregarding traffic signs or going too fast through parking lots, they also put the lives of both pedestrians and bicyclists at risk as well.

Reach Out to Us for Professional Help

If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, either as a driver, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist, contact our experienced Oregon car accident attorney today. At the Johnston Law Firm, we provide the professional legal representation you need to hold responsible parties accountable so that you can get the compensation you need to recover. We serve Portland and the surrounding areas; call or contact our office online today for a free consultation.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.