In Charleston, SC. What is the speed limit in a parking lot?

My friend was cited for failure to yield right of way entering a commercial (grocery store strip mall) parking lot as another driver was exiting parking lot at high rate of speed.

  • Please give us more detail and show what research you've done. – Digital fire Nov 23 '17 at 19:49
  • My friend was entering the parking lot and at first opportunity ( break in island ) turned left without seeing vehicle that was leaving parking lot – robert Nov 23 '17 at 23:52
  • 1
    Speed limits are irrelevant. Your friend did not give way. – Nij Nov 24 '17 at 2:51
  • Did the accident actually occur in the parking lot, or just outside the parking lot? – Acccumulation Nov 24 '17 at 2:58

There is no statutory provision regarding maximum speed in a parking lot. The general law is that

A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Speed must be so controlled to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of a person to use care.

There are various maximum lawful speeds that may not be exceeded, for example 70 on the interstate, or 30 in an "urban district". Local jurisdictions are authorized to modify the limits, and in Charleston the maximum is generally 25. However, a posted limit can also be set, so if the sign says 20, the limit is 20. Note though that state law refers to highways, defined thusly:

The entire width between boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel is a "street" or "highway."

A parking lot is not for the purpose of travel, so one cannot conclude that highway speed limits apply. The law also allows owners of private property to establish speed limits on their property.

Article 17 sets forth the right-of-way laws, which take into consideration whether the vehicle is turning left (yield), who gets there first (yield to the right if they arrive at about the same time), plus issues of being at an intersection, having a stop line, yield sign etc. It's impossible for us to guess what the factual circumstances are here. If one driver has the right of way but exceeds the legal speed limit, he may lose that right, but it doesn't transfer to the other driver.

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