Streets & Alleys FAQ 4
Are the traffic regulations set forth in chapter 346 enforceable on private roads in cities and villages?
Generally speaking, the answer is no although a municipality can enter into an agreement with the owner of a private road or driveway within a manufactured and mobile home community located within the municipality to treat the private road or driveway as a highway for purposes of traffic regulation enforcement by municipal police.
Section 346.02(1), Stats., provides that the traffic regulations set forth in Chapter 346 apply exclusively to highways, except as otherwise expressly provided in the chapter. The term “highway” is defined in sec. 340.01(22), Stats., to exclude private roads and driveways. Thus the rules of the road set forth in Chapter 346 are generally not enforceable on private roads. However, 2009 Wis. Act 129 created sec. 349.03(5) which allows a political subdivision to enter into a written agreement with the owner of a private road or driveway within a manufactured and mobile home community located within the political subdivision’s boundaries to enforce traffic regulations under ch. 346 or local ordinances in conformity with ch. 346 on the private road or driveway. The agreement can limit the traffic regulations or ordinances to be enforced under the agreement. Act 129 also created sec. 346.01(1m) which provides that for purposes of chapter 346 (rules of the road), “highway” includes a private road or driveway subject to an agreement for traffic regulation enforcement under sec. 349.03(5). Although cities and villages are authorized to adopt local traffic regulations, they must be in strict conformity with state law pursuant to Wis., Stat. sec. 349.06. Since Chapter 346 does not apply to private roads, except where expressly stated, a local ordinance that seeks to generally apply the speeding or other rules of the road set forth in Chapter 346 to private roads that are not subject to such regulation under Chapter 346 would not be in strict conformity with state law.