City makes it easier for police to ticket drivers cutting corners at intersections

WASHINGTON CITY — Motorists who cut through corner parking lots in order to avoid traffic lights may want to think twice before taking such shortcuts in Washington City.

The Washington City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday allowing police officers to ticket drivers who take their vehicles across private property to avoid an intersection.

“This allows us to enforce an ordinance that protects private property and patrons thereon,” Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams said.

Police officers usually see this behavior at heavy intersections where a driver will take a detour through a gas station parking lot, which then becomes a safety issue, Williams said.

“They usually do this in a swift manner to avoid congestion,” he said.

While Utah has a similar traffic law, it only applies if the driver cutting corners doesn’t come to a complete stop before reentering the street.

During the council’s meeting Wednesday, mention was made of a gas station on the corner of Red Cliffs Drive/Telegraph Street and Green Springs Drive at which drivers have been observed cutting across the parking lot to avoid the light at the intersection.

“They do travel at a very quick pace,” Councilman Jeff Turek said of the drivers, adding that it can be a potential danger for customers at the gas station walking between the gas pumps and convenience store.

Initial stops for this offense are likely to be warnings, Williams said, adding that police favor educating the public before having to resort to enforcement with a ticket that could carry a fine as high as $750.

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

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