It is not illegal to park in front of your own or someone else’s mailbox. As long as the automobile in question is permitted to park on the road, the motorist is technically free to park in front of a mailbox.
However, doing so can cause issues regarding mail delivery, so it should be avoided.
So, what does the law actually say about parking in front of a mailbox, and how does this correspond with the policies of the United States Postal Service (USPS)? Let’s find out!
What is considered blocking a mailbox?
If your car is within 15 feet of your mailbox, this is considered a blocked mailbox, based on USPS and other couriers’ standards. This means that you should leave 15 feet between your car and your own mailbox, and, in order to be a respectful neighbor, over 15 feet away from your neighbor’s mailbox.
This provides a total clearance of 30-feet for your postal carrier, as long as your neighbor, too, complies with the 15-feet rule. If they do not, or if you find that your neighbor continuously parks in front of your own mailbox, it would be best to discuss this with them politely in order to get them to stop doing it.
15 feet is the difference between safely delivered mail and unsafely delivered mail. This distance allows sufficient space for couriers to see pets, small children, and the elderly who may have wandered into this space unintentionally.
Therefore, not only is it considered good etiquette to avoid parking in front of a curbside mailbox, but it also helps to keep your neighborhood safe.
Can you park in front of a mailbox in the US?
You should avoid parking in front of your own mailbox post in order to guarantee the delivery of your mail.
The reason for this is that parking in front of a mailbox does not comply with United States Postal Service (USPS) rules regarding mail delivery parking rules. According to USPS, a mail carrier does not have to deliver mail if there is a vehicle parked in front of the mailbox.
If a car is parked in front of a mailbox – particularly if it is continuously parked there – UPSP mail carriers may consider your mailbox unsafe to deliver mail to.
Not only is it unsafe, but if the mail carrier has to constantly leave their vehicle in order to deliver mail, then their job would take longer. For this reason, USPS permits its employees to forgo obstructed mailboxes.
Therefore, although there is nothing technically stopping you from parking in front of curbside mailboxes, you are responsible in the event of UPSP deciding to not deliver your mail.
Is it illegal to park next to a mailbox?
Although there is no U.S. federal or state law that states you cannot park in front of your own or somebody else’s mailbox, it’s definitely better for yourself and considerate of others to avoid doing it.
What the law says about blocking a mailbox
Although some carriers may suggest that it is illegal to block a mailbox, they only do this to deter people from doing it. There is no official law regarding mailbox parking regulations.
Are there states that prohibit parking in front of a mailbox?
Although there is no state law that prohibits mailbox parking, you may find that different cities have their own rules regarding parking in front of mailboxes.
For example, parking within 10 feet of a mailbox is not permitted at any time in Portland, Oregon. A similar rule can be found in San Jacinto, California, which does not allow anyone to park in front of a mailbox post, or a ‘restricted postal zone’ between the hours of 8.00 am and 7.00 pm.
In cities that have such rules, a parking citation may be issued to the vehicle, or, in worst-case scenarios, the vehicle may be towed.
If you are unsure of your city’s mailbox regulations, then you should contact either your city’s parking division or make an inquiry at your local post office.
How far can you park from the mailbox?
When parking next to a mailbox, always make sure you’re leaving enough space to facilitate delivery. If there is clearly not enough space left for a courier to drive up and deliver mail without having to leave their car, then you are too close to the mailbox post.
As aforementioned, you should be 15 feet away from your own mailbox, and over 15 feet away from your neighbor’s.
When using public streets to park, be sure to exercise this 15 feet rule, too.
What happens if you park in front of a mailbox?
If you park in front of a mailbox, the post carrier may decide to return your mail to the post office if they deem it to be the most reasonable course of action.
In some instances, the carrier may even stick a ‘Do Not Block’ sign on your mailbox.
If the post office decides to stop delivering your mail due to continuing difficulties in delivering it, you should receive a written notice of this decision. On this note, the postal carriers should also state where you can alternatively pick up your mail from.
What happens if your mailbox is blocked?
If you find that your mailbox is regularly being blocked by another car, you should try to politely ask them to park elsewhere. This could simply be a case of leaving a note on their windshield or visiting their door and talking over the matter civilly.
It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the USPS 30-foot clearance rule in order to inform your neighbor fully of this.
Additionally, you should ensure that your mailbox is free from all other obstructions at all times, including snow. If the carrier finds your mailbox covered in snow, they will far more likely to return your mail to the post office than attempt to clear the box themselves.