I recently had to go to the post office after failing to receive mail for the past couple of weeks. I had informed USPS of the problem, and I had to get the undelivered mail from the post office. I was told the problem arose from the car parked in front of the mailbox every time the postmaster delivered mail.
It is not illegal to park in front of a mailbox, but USPS has guidelines against blocking mailboxes. No federal or state law makes parking in front of a mailbox illegal. However, in South Salt Lake City, Portland, and San Jacinto, it is illegal to park within 10 feet from the mailbox.
When USPS finds a car parked in front of the mailbox, they will not deliver mail because they cannot access it. Plus they have to deliver so many mails in a day, so any inconveniences mean delays. I’ll highlight some of my findings regarding parking in front of a mailbox and why you shouldn’t do it.
Since there are no Federal or State laws on parking in front of the mailbox, some cities have established laws on how far you should park from the mailbox. Meridian City Council banned parking within 10 feet between 8 am and 5 pm. San Jacinto, California, has similar regulations between 7 am and 8 pm. USPS recommends at least 30 feet of clearance.
You can get a ticket for parking close to a mailbox if the city has laws against it. Some cities, like Meridian, charge a fine. Your car may also be towed. Some cities leave a notification warning you not to park in front of the mailbox. USPS allows their personnel to skip blocked mailboxes.
When you block your mailbox, you may pay the price for breaking the city laws and miss your mail. USPS follows its regulations even though the city has laws against parking in front of the mailbox. If the postmaster finds a car in front of your mailbox all the time, he may notify the district manager, and services may be withdrawn until the issue is sorted.
When the parking slot in front of your mailbox is the only one available, you may be tempted to use it. However, this is a problem in several cities, although many do not have laws that make it illegal to park too close to the park.
How close you can park to the mailbox will depend on your city. Most cities require one to park 10 feet or either side of the mailbox. USPS recommends 15 feet on either side. A typical USPS mail truck is 14.5 feet long and needs clearance for swift delivery.
Some council officials in various cities with laws regarding parking distance from the mailbox have raised concerns about the loss of parking space. However, since the USPS postmaster needs to deliver mail within the shortest time possible, sufficient space is set aside to allow easy access to the mailbox.
At a glance, 10 feet (3.05 meters) on either side of your mailbox looks like too much space, especially when you may not have enough parking space in your driveway. However, there are reasons why so much clearance is given for mail delivery.
- USPS saves time because the postmaster can access curbside mailboxes without getting out of the car.
- The space allows for the safe delivery of mail.
- The USPS driver can easily re-enter the road without spending too much time reversing the vehicle.
- USPS has hundreds of mail, including drugs, to deliver per day. Any delays will result in some people missing crucial mail deliveries.
- The clearance allows the postmasters to monitor the presence of pets, children, adults, or even the elderly who unknowingly enter their path.
What to Do if Your Neighbor Parks in Front of Your Mailbox
Unfortunately, you may follow the rules about not parking in front of your house, but your neighbor may not. It can be quite frustrating if your neighbor chooses to park in front of your mailbox, especially if your city has no guidelines on where to park. In this case, the USPS guidelines stand.
When your neighbor parks in front of your mailbox, you should:
- Let your neighbor know that you risk missing your mail because they park in front of your mailbox.
- If the neighbor needs a reminder, find out if you can get a “do not park here” or a “do not block mailbox” sign.
- If there is a law against parking in front of the mailbox, you can inform the authorities. They may choose to fine your neighbor or tow his car.
You will still receive a notice from USPS about your blocked mailbox if they find a car parked in front of it during mail delivery. So, if you don’t want to risk losing the privilege of having your mail delivered, you need to find ways to get your neighbor to stop parking in front of your mail.
When USPS comes to your home multiple times to deliver mail but finds the mailbox blocked, they will notify you that they may halt services because of a blocked mailbox. There are several reasons why USPS may halt mail delivery because of a blocked mailbox:
- A vehicle parked in front of your mailbox during mail delivery hours.
- A vehicle parked too close to the mailbox.
- Snow or ice in front of or on the path to your mailbox.
- Snow is covering your mailbox.
You may also like to check: Can You Park in Front of a Fire Hydrant?
Although some cities have laws regarding how far to park from the mailbox, most put the responsibility on homeowners. USPS also has guidelines, but mailbox owners are expected to make the conditions conducive for mail delivery.
- Don’t park in front of the mailbox.
- Call your neighbor to order if they park in front of your mail.
- Get rid of snow on and in front of your mailbox.
If you don’t take measures to make it easier and safer for the postmaster to deliver your mail, then you may have to go to the post office to pick up your mail.
- How to Stop Someone From Parking in Front of Your House
- How Long Does a Car Have to Be Parked Before It Can Be Towed?