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Clark, Lawrence Strausser, Donna

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Is the word “stop” painted on the road in a private parking lot an enforceable stop sign, and can I be fined for not stopping?

If you are a motorist who has driven through any large parking lot, it’s likely you ran into the word “stop” painted across the road at areas where pedestrians are likely be walking or at vehicle intersection.

It is also likely you’ve come across these markings while driving through a largely empty parking lot, hit the brakes and made what felt like an unnecessary stop.

While these markings are meant to provide warnings at potential areas for crashes and should be viewed as providing caution, they are not enforceable traffic control devices, according to Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Adam Reed.

Reed said traffic control devices — like stop signs, speed limit signs and traffic lights — must be installed by a public body or authority to be enforceable.

Traffic control devices installed by a private entity, while they may highlight areas that motorists should use caution, are not enforceable by law enforcement.

Reed also said a traffic control device that was installed by a public body or entity would be an item like a stop sign or traffic light, and not merely the word “stop” painted on the ground.

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