This is something I've always wondered about, maybe somebody has some insight here. My question is basically, do you always have to stop before the stop sign?
This is the law:
Now, let's break it down. The most obvious way to read it is that there is an order of things you have to stop for if you're approaching a stop sign. If there's a stop line, stop for that. If there's a crosswalk, stop for that. Finally, if neither of those are present, stop "at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering."§ 3323 (b) Duties at stop signs.--Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or appropriately attired persons authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line or, if no stop line is present, before entering a crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if no crosswalk is present, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering. If, after stopping at a crosswalk or clearly marked stop line, a driver does not have a clear view of approaching traffic, the driver shall after yielding the right-of-way to any pedestrian in the crosswalk slowly pull forward from the stopped position to a point where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic. The driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute a hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways and enter the intersection when it is safe to do so.
I've heard people claim you have to stop behind the sign, but I don't see anything that says that.
If we want to be a little too literal, consider the phrase, "every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign." What that says to me is that this law doesn't apply if you're not "approaching a stop sign." Now, that could either be a backhanded way of saying you have to stop before the sign, although it doesn't explicitly say that. A trickier interpretation is that if "the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic" is not before the stop sign, you wouldn't reach it while you're "approaching the stop sign" and therefore have no need to stop at all!
What exactly are they trying to say here?
For the record, I always stop completely, even if it is beyond the sign, but I go slow so I can stop if someone is turning left and needs the room.