Repercussions of Cutting through Parking Lots
How many times have you been in a hurry to get somewhere and it feels like all the lights you pass through are in red? If you add traffic to this equation, the situation just feels worse. You look to your side and find a parking lot which is actually connected to the other road where you need to make a turn. You quickly consider cutting through the parking lot. After all, you’re technically not harming anyone, right? Is it even considered illegal when you’re not putting anyone in harm?
Cutting through Parking Lots in Other States
Cutting through parking lots have been on a lot of people’s minds. The question is always whether it’s legal or not. This is understandable considering that a driver who cuts through a parking lot does not per se cause any harm to anybody. It’s not like when the driver is texting while driving, driving under the influence or completely beating a red light.
It’s also interesting to note that when you look up “cutting through parking lots,” one of the search items that will appear will be a Reddit page about this specific topic. If you browse through the thread, you’ll notice that they didn’t arrive at an agreement. This is because cutting through parking lots may be legal in some states and illegal in some.
According to an online news website, the law against cutting through parking lots is very different in various states. For example, lot-cutting is actually legal in California, provided that no other laws are violated. On the other hand, cutting through a parking lot is illegal in New Jersey as well as in Illinois. Both states have laws against this practice. In fact, a legislation in Illinois specifically states that it is “unlawful for any person to leave the roadway and travel across private property to avoid an official traffic control device.” To be more specific in this situation, the private property that this pertains to is the parking lot; whereas, the official traffic control device is a stoplight.
Another interesting example is from a news article in Seattle, where a police officer in Washington actually explained that cutting through parking lots is not entirely illegal in WA. However, he did mention that several municipalities have ordinances prohibiting this traffic action.
So, Is It Illegal to Cut through Parking Lots in Michigan?
In the state of Michigan, the law clearly states that cutting through parking lots in order to avoid a red light is definitely illegal. In fact, there is a section in the Michigan Vehicle Code dedicated to this.
Section 611 focuses on traffic control devices, any exceptions, the required obedience, and how it is a non-criminal violation (civil infarction). This specific section states the following:
(1) The driver of a vehicle or operator of a streetcar shall not disobey the instructions of a traffic control device placed in accordance with this chapter unless at the time otherwise directed by a police officer.
(2) The driver of a vehicle shall not, for the purpose of avoiding obedience to a traffic control device placed in accordance with this chapter, drive upon or through private property, or upon or through public property which is not a street or highway.
(3) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.
If you are a registered driver in Michigan, then you have to take note of this. The law clearly states that no one can cut through private property – or even a public property – just for the sake of avoiding a traffic control device, i.e., a stoplight. You can be ticketed if an officer catches you doing the prohibited act.
The Problem with Enforcing the Law
The problem is while the law is crystal clear that cutting through parking lots and even public property like a street is definitely illegal, it can be challenging to enforce. First of all, this type of practice is usually seen in busy intersections, such as through a corner gas station. The irresponsible driver can easily say that he was stopping for gas or any other legitimate reason.
Secondly, in order to ticket somebody for cutting through a lot, the officer should have to witness the violation. Again, if it is a bustling intersection, the driver can just say that he did initially stop for gas or for the restroom but changed his mind. He just happens to be turning to the same corner when it happened. This kinds of situations can make the enforcement of the law complicated.
Cutting through Parking Lots is Illegal in Michigan
Regardless of the situation, it’s crucial always to remember that cutting through parking lots to avoid a red light is illegal in Michigan. Don’t risk getting ticketed by an officer just because you’re running late to a meeting.
Note also that this type of “convenience” can actually result in a devastating car accident. It can cause red light accidents, parking lot accidents, rear end accidents, and there’s the possibility of hitting a pedestrian when a driver decides to cut through a parking lot. These areas have a structured way of getting cars in and out of the lot. Thus, if you’re cutting traffic, there’s a high possibility that you are speeding. Those who are inside the parking lot may be caught off guard because their mindset is that the people inside are driving slower.
Seek Advice from The Clark Law Office
Cutting through a parking lot to avoid traffic or red light is convenient. This is why people choose to do it. However, since this practice is illegal in Michigan, it’s best to seek compensation if you get involved in an accident because of this reckless action.
Consider legal representation and look no further than The Clark Law Offices. We are the leading personal injury law firm in Michigan, and we are dedicated to representing the people and not the interest of insurance companies. We have been in the industry for the past 30 years, and we have won millions for our clients.
If you have questions or if you wish to discuss our case, call our Lansing vehicle accident lawyers now at (517) 347-6900 or fill out the free case evaluation form on the right.