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Is it breaking the law to run a stop sign in a shopping mall?

Is a driver is breaking the law by not stopping at a stop sign in a shopping mall parking lot in Quebec? Is the shopping mall considered private property and therefore not bound by road laws? – Pompeo, Montreal

In Quebec, the law saying you have to stop at a stop sign doesn't apply on private property – but you'll still get a hefty fine if you get caught.

"Section 368 of the Highway Safety Code – obligation to stop in front of a stop sign – applies only on a public roadway," Montreal Police said in an e-mail. "However, if a motorist is driving dangerously at a mall, a police officer may charge them with Section 327 of the same act, with a fine of $1,000 plus costs."

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That section prohibits "any rate of speed or any action that can endanger human life and safety or property." It applies anywhere public traffic is allowed.

Ontario is the only province where none of the rules apply on private property. In fact, you can drive without a licence in a parking lot there.

In other provinces, the rules apply on private property. Quebec has some exceptions – some rules apply on private property and others, like the distracted driving law, don't.

But in all the provinces, you could potentially be charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle under the Criminal Code anywhere, especially if you hit something or someone.

Have a driving question? Send it to Canada's a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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