It has been brought to my attention that there is a law that says you may not block a private driveway, even your own, by parking in front of it. Is this true?
— Donna G.
Yes, it is, Donna. ORS 811.550 defines places where stopping, standing and parking are prohibited. There are actually 24 places listed in this section, and the 15th item is the one that addresses your question. The section says parking is prohibited in front of a public or private driveway, then it goes on to list six exceptions:
- For vehicles stopped, standing or parked momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger.
- For vehicles owned or operated by the state, a county or city when stopping, standing or parking is necessary to perform maintenance or repair work on the roadway.
- When the driver's disregard of the prohibitions is necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic.
- Acting in compliance with a law or at the direction of a police officer or a traffic-control device.
- When a vehicle that is disabled in such manner and to such extent that the driver cannot avoid stopping or temporarily leaving the disabled vehicle in a prohibited position.
- That the use of the vehicle was not authorized by the owner, either expressly or by implication.
If you violate ORS 811.550, you could be cited for a Class D violation and charged with a fine of $97.
That's the black-and-white definition, Donna. However, the gray area comes when you are blocking your own driveway. Who's going to call and complain?
An officer just happening by and seeing this violation may run the car's plates, and if the registration returned with the same address as the blocked driveway, then the officer may elect to use his or her own judgment and not cite for the violation. It's the officer's prerogative.
Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail email@example.com.