Yes, it is illegal in Florida to disregard or destroy detour signs

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Traffic lesson of the week: Unless otherwise indicated, it’s illegal to drive around, destroy or deface a detour sign.

This issue has popped into my inboxes — email, Twitter and Facebook — a few times now. The most recent message came from a frustrated reader in Boca Raton, where the Yamato Road closure at the Tri-Rail tracks made for a longer-than-usual commute for some.

(Click here to read more about that closure and see detours.)

He wanted to know why he couldn’t “just go around” the detour signs. There are a lot of answers to that — namely, that it would be extremely unsafe — but the simple answer is, “Because it’s illegal to do so.”

Florida’s law — you can read it here — says, “It is unlawful to tear down or deface any detour sign or to break down or drive around any barricade erected for the purpose of closing any section of a public street or highway to traffic during the construction or repair thereof or to drive over such section of public street or highway until again thrown open to public traffic.”

There is one exception: If you’re on the road crew doing the work.

 

And yes, it’s true that you may see a detour sign accompanied by another that says, “Road closed. Local traffic only.” You’ll see this in residential areas; it means only residents can access that street.

Here’s the full Florida statute:

316.078 Detour signs to be respected.—
(1) It is unlawful to tear down or deface any detour sign or to break down or drive around any barricade erected for the purpose of closing any section of a public street or highway to traffic during the construction or repair thereof or to drive over such section of public street or highway until again thrown open to public traffic. However, such restriction shall not apply to the person in charge of the construction or repairs.
(2) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable pursuant to chapter 318 as:
(a) A nonmoving violation for tearing, breaking down, or defacing any detour sign.
(b) A moving violation for driving around any barricade erected for the purpose of closing any section of a public street or highway to traffic that is under construction or repair or driving over such section of public street or highway until open to public traffic.

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