Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
Parking commercial vehicles overnight in the USA is not a simple process.
There are a lot of legal implications to parking your commercial vehicle in the wrong place and sometimes it’s very confusing when you’re trying to ascertain where you can leave your vehicle.
First, it’s important to know that each state will vary on their laws and rules on parking commercial vehicles.
So, before we give you any more information – beware that your state may have differing rules and it’s worth checking these out with your local area before you take our advice as absolute.
In this guide, we will explore the laws on commercial vehicle parking and what could happen if you get it wrong.
How Do You Define A Commercial Vehicle?
Defining a commercial vehicle might sound like a simple task, but it’s actually more complicated than you think.
Some insurance providers will differ on their definition for example and understanding if your vehicle is a commercial vehicle can completely change how much you’re spending on insurance, but also where you can park.
Most insurance companies will define a commercial vehicle as any vehicle (car, truck, bus etc.)that is used to conduct business. This does not include a car for example, that you use to go to and from your workplace.
It’s the activity itself that defines the commercial aspect to the vehicle. For example, a hearse, a limousine, a garbage truck, a bus, a delivery truck, an agricultural vehicle (like a combine harvester) and food trucks.
Parking Your Commercial Vehicle In A Residential Area
A residential area as the name suggests, is an area where people reside – and therefore parking in the area should only be for residential parking purposes only. They are not available for industrial or commercial vehicles.
The reason for this is typically due to a safety concern.
For example, if you have a massive bus or garbage truck and you’re parking that in a residential area, there is a risk that emergency vehicles or emergency procedures may be hindered by the vehicle being in the way.
States and local municipalities will devise their own laws and regulations on this to try and curtail blocked pavements and walkways as this can be hazardous.
Additionally, some larger vehicles can block visibility of drivers and emergency vehicles.
In LA for example, it is prohibited for a commercial vehicle that is longer than 22 feet to park in a residential area.
Nevada goes one step further by preventing commercial vehicles of any capacity from parking overnight in residential areas for any reason.
The only time that most areas will apply an exception of parking a commercial vehicle in a residential area is for work purposes (for example, delivering goods or collecting waste) and for emergency situations, but these are not likely.
The HOA (HomeOwners Association) uses state law and their own discretion to try and enforce these parking regulations on commercial vehicles, among other vehicles to ensure they’re complying with public safety standards.
They have the authority to fine people and ban vehicles from being in a residential area. However, they do not have any authority when it comes to public streets.
Parking Commercial Vehicles In NYC
New York has very strict and clearly set out rules on parking your commercial vehicle overnight. They say you cannot under any circumstances park your commercial vehicle between the hours of 9pm and 5am.
To avoid ambiguity, they define a commercial street as an area in a commercial district that is again, clearly set out in the zoning areas on the map of New York City.
Much like Los Angeles, New York City does allow commercial vehicles to park under one exception which is for the commercial activity to take place between 9pm and 5am but it must be within 3 blocks of the area of parking.
Some State Rules
There are some states that allow for overnight parking of commercial vehicles after the driver has purchased a time-limited ticket.
The problem is, this generally expires every 2 hours which means the commercial vehicle will either need to move every 2 hours – which defeats the purpose of parking – or the driver can purchase several 2 hour tickets.
Miami, Florida, though has a little more leniency on commercial vehicle overnight parking. They say that a maximum of 2 commercial vehicles of category 1 can be parked outside a residence.
As they have categorized the vehicles, it is easy to know what the ruling is.
They classify a category 1 commercial vehicle as things like taxi cabs, limousines and a vehicle with advertising (all subject to size restrictions).
They do share the same views on commercial vehicle parking when it comes to their category 3, which are large trucks like tow trucks, dump trucks or trailers as they are prohibited from parking in residential areas entirely.
So, Where Am I Meant To Park My Commercial Vehicle Overnight?
If you have a commercial vehicle that could be classified as a category 3 or simply a very large commercial vehicle, you will have to plan ahead when it comes to parking.
If you work for a towing company for example, the likely scenario is that you will need to return the tow truck back to the depot before you go home. The same will apply for bus drivers, delivery drivers etc.
You have to look for approved areas to park overnight if this is not possible and the way to do this is by contacting the state or municipality advisors and asking them where it is permitted to park your commercial vehicle overnight.
Failure to park within the rules can result in heavy fines or even having your vehicle towed away, which can be detrimental to your business.
Parking a commercial vehicle overnight is not as easy as it might sound, and the only sure-fire way to ensure you are complying with the local rules and unlikely to receive a fine is by contacting the local area you’re planning to park in.