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When can reckless parking be penalised?

A car parked across two parking spaces, by a fire hydrant, or blocking half the sidewalk. These are just a few examples of inconsiderate parking. The author of these lines himself sometimes desperately scours crowded streets in the evening looking for even a parking spot. Can wasteful, arrogant or downright dangerous parking be punished? Shouldn’t the municipal police focus on this at some point?

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There are several possibilities for bad parking. However, some cases are easier to penalise than others. Sometimes you won’t even get a warning, other times you’ll get a ticket, have your points deducted or have your car towed away. We take a look at the most common offences and what they potentially carry.

Parking in front of an exit

Nothing can annoy you as much as someone parking in front of your exit. At best, it just obstructs the passageway, at worst it blocks your own car so you can’t get anywhere. Fortunately, you’re in the right in this case. Driveways are considered to be part of the road, and by law no one can block them without a serious reason (a serious reason being, for example, a traffic accident, not a quick need to run an errand).

If it is someone you know’s car (e.g. a neighbour), it is best to try to resolve the situation by agreement first. However, if it is someone else’s car, or if the behaviour continues after you have spoken to your neighbour, it is time to call the police. However, the problem may arise in the case of a towing service. You are responsible for the cost of the towing, and you can only then claim the amount from the owner of the car.

Tip: Recovering the towing fee may not be the easiest thing to do. In this case, you will benefit from the services of our attorney, who will add the necessary authority and formality to your request. Plus, you’ll save yourself weeks or months of pleas and reminders to pay, and usually save on costly litigation.

Parking disrupting safety

It is also possible to park in such a way that security is compromised. Whether it is blocking a fire hydrant or the entrance for emergency services. This can happen particularly on housing estates where there are designated access areas for firefighters and their aerial appliances.

Such parking, which prevents the firefighters from intervening, can cost up to CZK 25 000. Similarly, blocking a fire hydrant carries a fine of up to CZK 20 000. The damage may not only be monetary, but such parking can also cost lives.

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Parking on the pavement

Parking on the pavement (or on the edge of the pavement) is unfortunately also not uncommon, especially in streets suffering from a lack of parking spaces. Even if there is enough space on the pavement for a normal pedestrian, there may not be room for wheelchairs or pushchairs.

In some cases, sidewalk parking may be allowed, but only if the sidewalk is marked as such. Otherwise, parking on the pavement is punishable by a fine of between CZK 1,500 and CZK 2,500.

Wasteful parking

It is often argued that wasteful parking cannot be penalised in any way. Anyone who parks one metre from the kerb and creates a gap that is too narrow or parks in such a way that it blocks two spaces is said to have no sanction and faces only moral condemnation from neighbours in crowded areas.

In reality, however, it’s not entirely hopeless, plus “the people” can always change the rules and push the police or the parking lot owner into solving the real problems. Meanwhile, considerate parking could often create a few dozen extra spaces.

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The key rule here is that everyone is obliged to behave in a considerate and disciplined manner in road traffic. Primarily, this rule is aimed at protecting health, property and animals.

However, police officers interpret it very broadly and wasteful parking could also be fined under it. It is therefore a matter for consideration whether not to actually officially mark parking on streets where parking is often not optimal, so that drivers cannot make excuses for not knowing how to park.

Often, motorists also make the excuse that they couldn’t find another space because others had already foolishly parked in front of them and there was “room left over”. However, even such an argument may not hold up in a particular case. It is enough that the police do not make their job easier and try to prove the offence. It is only sufficient in a few cases, for precautionary reasons.

The main thing is decency

The point is not to impose bullying on drivers. Rather, people should realise that public space is very valuable. It is certainly not automatic that people can park on public roads for free or for a relatively low annual fee. In major Japanese cities, for example, a resident cannot even officially register a car unless he or she proves that a private parking space is available. So it’s mainly up to us, the drivers, how we approach finding a space.

However, the police could also do more sometimes, to deal with less easily administered offences. They could also focus on the more difficult to prove offences, but which are annoying in the long term. Especially if people get used to being unpunishable for recklessness.

But neither should car park owners or towns be left behind and have spaces marked in areas where appropriate. The police should then push into enforcing considerate parking.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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