The reason I want to put up a stop sign, is because one side of my property has a horse boarding facility with boarders. They cross my road onto the house side of my property in order to reach a ridding camp. There is a cement company up the road (my easement road) that has a lot of truck traffic. The issue, is that the trucks are flying by with no regard to posted speed signs and no regard to boarders. It is an accident waiting to happen. I want to put up the stop sign for safety purposes. Question here is, can I enforce the cement company to make their drivers and visiting drivers stop??
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
It sounds like you are talking about a known and substantial risk on your private property of the potential for serious damage or bodily injury to third parties. That is something you should take very seriously and should absolutely consult with a local attorney about, since nothing anyone writes here is formal legal advice.
Stop signs are only valid in the conventional sense (i.e., enforceable by the police) when the sign has been duly authorized by an appropriate public authority and it is located on public property. So, just for instance, stops signs in most shopping mall parking lots are unenforceable by the police because they are on private property. That said, a stop sign is, in essence, a warning that if driver's proceed without stopping and they cause damage or injury, could contribute substantially to providing they were reckless or negligent. It is hard from the specifics you have given to give a detailed answer, but if I were you I would:
(a) Post a speed limit sign, a stop sign -- and possibly other warning indicators -- along the road (and better yet, per the proposed letter below, ask the cement company to do this on their nickel, since they are presumably the primarily liable party in the event of an accident or injury);
(b) Post a warning sign for the riding camp people as well to beware of trucks and to exercise caution when crossing the road;
(c) Send notices to both the riding camp and the truck company (see below). I would include in these letters something that both entities can post prominently on their bulletin boards informing them of the risk, in the cast of the cement company especially, informing them of the new speed limit and stop sign, and urging them to otherwise use extreme caution at the specific danger spots and anywhere in the general vicinity of the riding camp.
(d) For the cement company, I would send the president of the cement truck company (as well as their lawyer if you can find out who that is, or even their insurance company), a certified letter (do this annually if necessary as well as any time you see specifically egregious behavior....and always retaining a copy for your records), informing them of their dangerous practice and their obligation to require their drivers to travel at a safe speed across your property. Let them know that if they don't there is a substantial risk of injury to person and animals. Inform them that for the safety of everyone you have posted a stop sign and ask that they instruct their drivers to reduce their speed and stop at the posted sign.
There may be other things to do here, but without knowing who owns what; the specifics of the topography; and your relationship to the riding camp, you may have other duties here.....although most importantly, and even though it might result in raising your premium, you should find out of accidents that the cement company causes are covered by your homeowner's insurance and/or commercial liability insurance. One fairly inexpensive thing that you should look into is an "umbrella policy" that would also theoretically kick in if you get sued as well. Also, if the cement truck company kills someone and is bankrupt, then it seems like you would be the next one of the cross-hairs of a lawsuit so that might give you some good added protection.
Finally, regardless of doing all these things, I think you should consult with a local real estate lawyer.
If the cement company continues to operate at excessive speeds or recklessly and you know about it but fail to take reasonable steps, or even if they aren't reckless but there simply exists an inherently dangerous situation on your property, you might have an obligation to do more, including possibly taking the cement company to court to force compliance with reasonable safety precautions. If you are just the landlord to the riding camp, then there may be things you can do relative to the lease to protect yourself in the future as well.
This is not a traffic question- BUT- since I live in your county I would suggest you contact local representative ; Ventura Supervisor ; City Plannning Commission. An attorney could possibly help addressing this issue and getting some response. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen!
Tough question to answer. Do you own the entire property and rent out the other side to the horse boarding facility? Is there two separate legal parcels with an easement? Please advise. Thank you.
Marcus W. Morales, Esq.
Law Offices of Marcus William Morales
115 W. Mission St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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