(March 31, 2017) - Welcome to another "Ask CCPD" column, this one on the topic of traffic signs and the speeders they are aimed at. We received this question from Larry via our website:
"Am I allowed to post a "No Wake Zone 5 MPH sign on my dock? I am located on the San Carlos Canal and watch violators continuously speed up and down the canal."
That is a good question, Larry, and one we get fairly often. In regards to your dock, you may put a sign of this kind on there if you wish. However, the sign is unenforceable by law enforcement unless it's a standard approved street/traffic sign. That's not to say if that happens to be the speed limit in your canal it can't be enforced, it's just that it's the official signs that are going to get speeding boaters jammed up, not your sign. Your sign can serve as a reminder to boaters to slow down before they damage a sea wall, plow through a poor manatee, or get themselves killed.
Fashioning your own signage for city streets is another issue entirely. We've all seen the neon yellow "Child At Play" cutouts, or signs from frustrated citizens spray-painted with "SLOW DOWN!", or maybe even traffic cones splitting the roadway in half in an attempt to slow drivers. These aren't necessarily bad ideas at all on the surface, but they can be an issue. There's actually Florida State Statute 316.077, "Display of unauthorized signs, signals, or markings" that prohibits anyone from putting in or alongside the roadway anything that attempts to act as or imitate a traffic sign, or attempts to direct traffic movement. The spray-painted "SLOW DOWN!" sign probably isn't going to be eyed as a "Speed Limit 30mph" impostor, but still. Violation of this statute nets you a nonmoving traffic ticket, even sitting in your house after you've put those fancy cones in the roadway. The city could also remove your cones without notice.
These homemade obstructions can also be a civil issue, with civil in this case essentially meaning you get sued. Sure, anyone can sue for anything in this litigious society we live in. However, a driver who swerves around your cones and damages their car (or worse) could very likely have a case against you.
You know what the best method is to stop speeders, whether on our city streets or on our 400+ miles of canals? The PO-lice, the five-O! If you have speeding complaints, always call us at (239) 574-3223, or even 9-1-1 if the speeder is an imminent threat to themselves or others. You can also send complaints straight to our Traffic division on our website here. While traffic is and has always been a priority for us, Chief Newlan has started a new "Traffic Target Initiative" aimed at decreasing crashes and thus injuries/deaths on our roads, so you will or maybe already have seen a lot more police cars and boats out there. So, like the possibly illegal spray-painted sign says, "SLOW DOWN!"
Now that you're ready to drive/boat slower, have a safe and fun weekend! Send your questions for this column to our "Ask CCPD" page on our website, or to one of our many social media platforms. Catch you later, and hopefully not on a traffic stop!
About the Author:
Corporal Philip Mullen is a nine year law enforcement veteran assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police and serves as Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department.
For the last 9 years, Corporal Mullen served as a Patrol Officer in our Patrol Bureau, and as a Field Training Officer, preparing new recruits for the rigors of police work over the past 5 years. Corporal Mullen is a member of the Cape Coral Police Department Honor Guard and has represented the Cape Coral Police Department across the United States. He is a recipient of two Lifesaving Awards and the department's highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Phil holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Safety Administration from Edison State College.
CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341