The list of things that make you want to tear your hair out is hopefully slim for most of us, but a common entry in said list is finding a car blocking your driveway. Whether you’re leaving for work at the crack of dawn or returning home to put your feet up, the mere sight is enough to send anyone’s blood pressure through the roof.
When it comes to neighbors parking in or across your driveway (and people abandoning vehicles on the street), your first instinct may be to contact the police. However, your first point of contact should in fact be your local authority.
In this article, we’ll outline resources for dealing with this, especially if you’re in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Houston.
Report a Vehicle Blocking Driveway
Of course, if you know the vehicle owner and aren’t in too immediate of a situation, your first move as a cordial neighbor should be to ask them politely to move it. After all, they may not even realize they’re causing a problem. This could be face to face or through a note on their windscreen.
However, this may not always give satisfactory results. Perhaps they’re nowhere to be found, they refuse to move their vehicle, or the obstacle appears to be an abandoned vehicle. These tend to be characterized by significant damage or missing number plates.
In any case, you should not try and take the law into your own hands by making physical threats or attempting to move the vehicle yourself. You may escalate the situation unnecessarily, and even risk committing an offense yourself.
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Who to Call
Angelenos have the L.A. Parking Enforcement at their disposal ((213) 485-4184 or through 311). After dialing this number, a recorded message will start, at which point you’ll want to press 2 to reach a live operator.
Parking Enforcement is known to be particularly prompt, with DOT/LAPD officers often arriving in less than an hour. You don’t need to actually be there when they arrive for the offending car to be given a ticket, but you would need to be present to get a car towed, as you need to show it is indeed your driveway that is being blocked.
In San Francisco, the Traffic Enforcement Division can be reached through the non-emergency number 311. They are also well known for speedy responses. In San Fran, if a car is blocking your driveway, you do have the right to remove it from your way through a towing company.
You are, however, required to notify the SFPD one hour before towing, and the towing company must then also notify the SFPD within 30 minutes of the car being towed.
In New York, a vehicle blocking a driveway cannot be towed without first being ticketed by the police. Again, in this scenario, they should be alerted through the non-emergency number 311.
Once ticketed, the owner/renter of the residence being blocked is then free to authorize a towing company, licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), to tow said vehicle, and the vehicle owner will be charged any towing fees.
Similarly, the number to go to in Houston is 311, after which parking enforcement will arrive to dish out a ticket, and the vehicle can then be privately towed. Vehicles are fully photographed and time stamped before towing, and all tows are immediately called into the police towline, with the offender also being notified of the location of their vehicle.
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Best Tow Companies in Your Region
More often than not, the police will have the capacity to arrange for the obstructing vehicle to be towed, however here are some of the best tow companies in your regions if you do need to get in touch.
Quick Silver Towing – An Official Police Garage for the Los Angeles Police Department, West Los Angeles Division and West Traffic Division for light duty towing as well as the California Highway Patrol.
U.S. Tow – US Tow provides property owners, property managers and property tenants with quality private property towing services.
San Francisco Bay Area Towing – Private Property Towing.
Blocked Driveway Towing Service – The 24/7 emergency blocked driveway towing service in NYC.
PD Towing of Houston – Family owned and operated, with over 15 years of experience.
5 Essential Tips to Save Yourself the Headache
While the authorities will be on your side in these situations, preventative measures are almost always a much more desirable solution. This is where security cameras really shine.
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Along with preventing theft and vandalism, they are an invaluable tool in preventing or dealing with pesky driveway blockers. Here’s how AlfredCamera can help you out:
1. Unwanted parkers can turn up at any time of the day, and while you may have a chance to catch them in the act when you’re at home, being out and about would mean you wouldn’t even find out about the incursion until you returned. 24/7 Live Video Surveillance and Streaming means a security camera can be used to keep an eye on your driveway at all times and from anywhere, meaning you can start taking steps to deal with it before you even get back.
2. Although unlikely, it’s a possibility that after reporting the car blocking your driveway you could find yourself in a series of events that leads to a small claims court. Here footage acquired by the AlfredCamera HD recording feature could be utilized as evidence if need be.
3. Odds are you won’t spend your whole day staring at your security camera. With Motion Detection you can relax knowing that any driveway blockers will send an instant notification to your smartphone, alerting you immediately.
4. With the Siren you can trigger really loud noises in an emergency. Nothing better to scare off anyone attempting to infringe on your property.
5. Somewhat similarly to the Siren feature, Two-Way Talk presents a more civil method of scaring off potential blockers. Often a gentle reminder that someone is indeed being watched is enough to deter unwanted behavior.
Recommended reading: 5 Proven DIY Home Security Hacks You Need To Know
How do I complain about a blocked driveway?
Although parking enforcement services may have their own numbers, going through the non-emergency number 311 will be your easiest route at getting in touch with them.
Is it an offense to block someone’s driveway?
Yes, it is illegal with very few exceptions for a vehicle to block someone’s driveway and anyone caught doing so is liable to a parking ticket and having their vehicle towed.
What can you do when somebody blocks your driveway?
If possible try and alert the offender and request they move their vehicle and refrain from doing so again in the future. If this isn’t possible get in touch with parking enforcement services so they can give out a ticket and tow the vehicle.
While it may not be the end of the world, someone blocking your driveway with their vehicle can be a major inconvenience, hence being able to deal with it as quickly as possible is essential.
Thankfully, the law is on your side. Going through the non-emergency number 311 to parking enforcement should get you a quick response with the option to tow the offending vehicle and get on with your day.
A security camera can be an invaluable tool when dealing with driveway blockers, especially one with as many features as the AlfredCamera. While it can provide important footage after the fact, its true value lies in its capability in alerting you to live incursions on your property, with 24/7 surveillance and motion detection.
Siren and two-way talk features are also a fantastic tool with which to fend off potential driveway blockers, saving you the extra hassle of having their vehicle towed in the first place.