As of 2020, there are an estimated 10.5 million vehicles registered in the State of New York alone. That’s in comparison to the Empire State’s population of about 19.45 million.
Doing the math, that means that over half of the state’s residents own and operate an automobile!
So, it’s no wonder that many motorists fail to comply with New York State parking laws. From 2014 to 2017 alone, there were 36,300 tickets issued for illegal stopping or parking on highways. On top of that were 5,235 tickets for unattended vehicles.
With all that said, it’s best you learn all about New York parking laws before you get a citation yourself. This is especially true if you’re a new driver or if you’re only visiting the state.
Read on so you can avoid breaking the Empire State’s stringent traffic and parking laws.
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 101
The New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Title VII Rules of the Road, Article 32, codifies parking laws. However, the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles prescribes the parking regulations. There’s also the separate NY Traffic Violations Bureau handling non-criminal moving road violations.
Moreover, each NY State municipality has its own parking violations bureau or court. These are the departments that deal with illegal stopping, standing, or parking.
New York State Parking Laws: Parking, Standing, and Stopping
In the New York State, “parking” falls under three types: parking, standing, or stopping.
A “No Parking” sign allows you to temporarily stop by that area to load or unload both people and items.
If you see a “No Standing” sign, that means you can temporarily stop your car there to load or unload passengers. However, this law only allows for passenger loading or unloading. Meaning, it’s against the law to load or unload merchandise within that area.
By contrast, a “No Stopping” sign means that you can’t stop there, even if it’s only for a few seconds. The only exception is if you need to obey a traffic enforcer, sign, or signal. Another is if you’re about to hit another vehicle, and stopping is the only way to prevent the collision.
Unlawful Parking, Standing, or Stopping in NY State
Double parking is illegal throughout the State of New York. This means that you’ll get a ticket if you park on either side of an already-parked automobile.
Parking in crosswalks, on sidewalks, or on railroad tracks is also illegal in NY State. The same goes if you park within 50 feet of a railroad.
You can also expect a ticket if you park your ride within a construction site, and it ends up blocking traffic. It’s also illegal to park, stand, or stop within a road excavation site, bridge, or tunnel.
Circumstances With Exceptions
If you park within five meters of a fire hydrant, you can expect to get slapped with a New York parking ticket. The only exception is if a licensed driver stays in the vehicle to get it out of the way in case of an emergency.
It’s also illegal to park with 10 meters of a marked pedestrian safety zone. However, it’s fine to park within the area so long as there is a marked spot for stopping, standing, or parking.
No one in NY should park in an intersection. However, it’s okay to do so provided that there’s a parking meter or sign that permits such activities.
Specific Areas Where You Can’t Park in New York State
In NY, you should never park within 20 feet of a crosswalk found at an intersection. It’s also illegal to park within 30 feet of a “Stop” sign, a “Yield” sign, or a traffic light. If you do any of this in NY City, you’ll get a ticket and a fine of at least $115.
If you’re near a fire station driveway, make sure you park farther than 20 feet from it. If you’re going to park on the opposite side of the station’s driveway, be sure you’re more than 75 feet away.
Handicap Parking Laws in New York State
New York State handicap parking laws make it illegal for anyone to park in these reserved areas. Only people with temporary or permanent handicap parking permits can use these spots. A person with a qualifying disability must also be in the vehicle at the time of parking.
Can You Park in Front of a Driveway?
In the NY State, it’s illegal to park in front of a driveway.
However, you can do so if it’s your driveway, it’s a passenger vehicle, and you have it registered under your name. The car’s registered address must be the same as your driveway’s address.
The private lot itself must not contain three or more dwelling units, though. For instance, if you live in a multi-family dwelling, you can’t park in front of its driveway. It’s also illegal to park your business vehicle in front of your driveway if it has commercial plates.
This also means that you can’t have your friends or family parking in your driveway. Otherwise, they’ll end up having their rides towed by the local authorities.
What About an Abandoned Vehicle?
An abandoned vehicle is a vehicle left on someone else’s property without permission. The property owner has the right to report it to the authorities if it’s been on site for over 96 hours.
Note that junk or lemon cars can also fall under the abandoned vehicle statute of the NY State. For example, it’s illegal to keep two or more of these vehicles, even if it’s your property. You can keep one and repair it, so long as it’s within an approved enclosure.
Keep in mind that both a junk car and a lemon car are inoperative vehicles. So, if you end up with one of each or two of either, you’re already breaking the law. If you do end up with a lemon car, it’s best you learn and read more about NY’s laws on such defective vehicles.
Keep These Empire State Parking Laws in Mind
Breaking New York State parking laws won’t only get you a ticket; you’ll also face hefty fines. While these are only civil offenses, they can stay on your record for at least three years. They can also affect driving points and rates, so you might end up with high insurance premiums.
It’s better to be safe and sorry, so be sure you always follow the Empire State’s parking laws.
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