Cited for driving violation in private lot?

Today’s topic came to me by email.

“I am encountering so many people, young and old alike, using the Walmart parking lot for cut across,” a resident wrote. “They do not use the lanes created for driving up and down, they cut across parking spots, then look at you like you’re in the wrong for driving down the lane. I have had people give me the finger when I blow my horn because they cut me off driving down my lane … Is it right and legal to cut across without stopping at each end of the car parking spot and then continuing?”

This topic has been brought to my attention several times.

The hard part is, as police officers, we really have no enforcement in parking lots. There is no specific law making it illegal to cut across a parking lot.

However, if an accident were to occur because of someone cutting across the parking lot, the only statue that would technically cover this is MCL 257.626B-Careless Driving.

Under that section, it states, “A person who operates a vehicle upon a highway … or other place open to the general public including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in a careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property, but without wantonness or recklessness, is responsible for a civil infraction.”

By failing to follow the provided lanes for driving, each driver is taking the chance of causing a property damage or even a personal injury accident.

As stated above, we have no other way to cite a driver for causing an accident that was unavoidable if that driver had not neglected to use the proper driving lanes. Depending on the circumstances, drivers could also be cited for operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol, along with the careless driving if the officer’s investigation reveals that was a part of the cause of the accident.

Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the Michigan State Police-Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police-Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave., Alpena, Mich., 49707.