I see this on traffic signs around my town, and I don't think it makes any sense. I googled the phrase and apparently, a lot of people use it that way, but that does not change my opinion.

I think you can:
Enforce a law
Respond to a violation
Punish a violator

But how can you enforce a violation? Violations are prohibited… not enforced.

  • To me it means that if you commit a violation then the law will be enforced. Commented May 19, 2012 at 5:13
  • 3
    I am sure that is what the sign writers wanted to say. I don't think the words they chose work the way they used them.
    – The111
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 5:30
  • 2
    Unless 'Violations' is the name of the relevent section in the rule book.
    – Kris
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 5:43
  • 1
    It should be sense in the title.
    – Kris
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 5:47
  • 1
    @GEdgar It's possible, since 75% of this city speaks English as a 2nd language. Your point is taken; most people probably do get the meaning. But the same meaning can by conveyed using the CORRECT words.
    – The111
    Commented May 20, 2012 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


Enforce means to impose or make effective. eg, enforce silence, enforce a law.

So, no, you cannot enforce violations (unless if you are suggesting that people are compelled to make violations).

  • This answer is technically correct. Let's consider not only definition, but connotation. The sign writer wanted the reader to consider their own potential violation, then consider the law being enforced. The sign gets its point across.
    – TecBrat
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 10:26

Very similar to Oklahoma’s signs on the Turnpike: “Failure to pay toll strictly enforced.” They replaced them. No legal defense for “that’s what we meant.”

  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 22:59
  • 1
    No legal defense for “that’s what we meant.” That's untrue. It may apply to contracts in some cases but a questionably worded sign does not invalidate a toll applied and enforced in numerous other ways. "Shoplifting laws strictly enforced" wouldn't make it legal to steal from a shop, and the same principle applies. "Failure to pay toll strictly enforced" doesn't create an offense of failing to pay a toll; the offense is created by legislation and other signage that says "toll zone", "toll road", etc. If you want legal justification, take it to Law SE.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 23:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.