What to Do About Speeding on Community Association Roads in North Carolina

Jim SlaughterWe’ve gotten many more calls recently from homeowner and condominium association clients dealing with speeding vehicles on community association roads.  Perhaps people are speeding more, or it may simply be that associations have gotten fed up with the problem.  Whatever the case, the options in North Carolina can at times be limited.  In some states, statutes clearly provide what an association can (or cannot) do on its own or even public roads in the association.  Without such clear statutes, in North Carolina the issue often comes down to the status of the roads, the governing documents, and specific circumstances.

Community Association Speeding Options May Hinge on Whether Road is Public or Private

In North Carolina, the issue often comes down to who is responsible for the road.  If the roads are truly public or dedicated to public use, the only options may be to request that law enforcement more regularly patrol the area or set up temporary speed displays.  Also, the association and/or homeowners can request that the governmental entity responsible for the road consider changes , such as traffic suppression devices.

On the other hand, if the roads are truly private, not dedicated, and the association owns and maintains them, the planned community likely has greater options.  In some of our associations with speeding issues, we’ve seen clients try some or all of the following:

  • changing the speed limit,
  • placing stop signs,
  • gating (to limit traffic),
  • removing other vehicles from the road (no golf carts or bikers) to reduce accidents,
  • installing traffic calming devices (such as speed bump, humps, and cushions),
  • erecting temporary speed displays to alert drivers,
  • asking law enforcement to patrol the area more regularly (which can vary by jurisdiction and even whether the association is a gated community),
  • having security or off-duty police patrol the area in an official looking vehicle,
  • buying a radar gun and having security or a committee give out courtesy “warnings,”
  • buying a radar gun and giving out private tickets.

The latter is most often part of a larger community association rules rule or regulation of the common elements and often includes a couple of warning notices before an owner is noticed through the normal association hearing/fining system.  Non-owner vendors usually receive a warning and then have their company contacted with the threat of not being allowed back in the community.  Like other community associationissues, available options can depend on the type of community (HOA or condominium) and specific circumstances, including the language in the governing documents, nature of the roads, age of the association (due to application of statutes), and size of the association (due to application of statutes).

While some of these options may seem extreme, there have been instances where speeders damaged property or hit/almost hit members or their children, so it’ a serious safety issue.  If fact, owners at annual membership meetings in some associations are the ones demanding the board do something.  One caveat would be that if a detailed enforcement process is established, the board should follow it or the association may be claimed to have a part in the event of an accident following a failure to enforce traffic regulations (not saying such a claim would be successful, but have seen it made).

Because speeding issues in homeowner and condominium associations can vary greatly by circumstance, feel free to contact any of our attorneys if you wish to talk through a specific scenario.