Is It Legal To Block Your Own Driveway?

As everyone knows, it is illegal to park your vehicle across a residential driveway -- but what if it's your driveway? There are numerous circumstances where parking across your driveway is more convenient than pulling inside it; from quickly popping inside the house to dropping off another family member. If the driveway belongs to you and nobody else is blocked in, it should be legal. Right?

Photo: Josh Larios, Flickr

Unfortunately not. All states and territories in Australia prohibit motorists from blocking their own residential driveways. As exemplified on the Brisbane City Council website (emphasis ours):

Drivers must not park on or across a driveway or prevent access to a property. This includes parking in your own driveway outside of the property boundary.

Blocking in residents is just one of the reasons vehicles aren't allowed to park over driveways. Other reasons for this law include keeping the footpath clear of obstructions, allowing other cars to use the driveway for turning around, and ensuring emergency services have easy access to the property.

It can also impede your next-door neighbours' view of the rest of the street when they attempt to pull out of their own driveways. This could potentially lead to a collision with an oncoming vehicle that would otherwise have been avoided.

If you're a jerk, you might not care about causing any of the above inconveniences. After all, it's your property, not anyone else's. However, it's worth noting that any section of driveway that extends beyond your property boundaries belongs to the council. In other words, you don't actually own the "parking area" in front of your driveway.

In any event, park rangers can't be expected to know who a vehicle belongs to when they issue a ticket. This is one instance where they're not just being miserable sticklers for the law. For all they know, they're doing you, as the homeowner, a favour.

There is some slight good news, however. In most residential streets, you are allowed to block your driveway to drop off or pick up passengers -- so long as it doesn't take longer than two minutes.

Did you just catch yourself wondering if something was legal or not? Let us know and we may be able to answer it in our next Is It Legal? feature.


Comments

    Pedantic point, but parking across a driveway potentially disturbs the view of a neighbour as they're reversing out of their driveway, but parking on the street where there's no driveway is fine and dandy.

    Parking where you block the footpath is an understandable no-no. If your front area has no footpath, do you own the property right up to the curb? If that's the case then surely can you park "in" your driveway with the front or back of the car level with the curb? You're blocking the driveway for emergency vehicles and other people using it to turn around, but it IS your property and not council's.

    And if that is the case, then you should also be able to park "in" your driveway as described above but with the front or back sticking into the street as far as the width of a car, since that's how much road gets impeded by a car "parallel parked" on the side of the road.

    It's Rafferty's rules out there. Stay safe and vigilant!

      you would still be parked on the road and therefore on council property.

      It may not be your property. Even with no foot path there is a measure of council land. It does vary by state and council though so you would need to contact your council for the distance. It could even be none but no foot path is no guarantee.

        This is correct. 99% of the time council reserves land next to the road. This is for various reasons: road maintenance, expansion, drainage, services (water, power, communications, etc).

      Everything on the verge (the boundary of which is nearly always the road to the mailbox) is not residential property, it's public propety that the landowner usually needs to maintain. So, you can park up to the boundary of the residential property, not the curb.

      Regardless if there is a footpath or not, you don't own the nature strip or the crossover.

    allowing other cars to use the driveway to turn around

    Wait a second. I thought it was illegal to use some random driveway to turn around. Three point turn or nothing!

      I thought that too! Unless the law has changed, I was told on my Learners that a 3 point turn using a driveway was illegal, even though everyone does it.

        Driveway yes. Crossover no. In fact it is part of the standard license test (in Victoria at least) to use a crossover to perform such a turn.

    I would always park in front of my own driveway, never had a fine for it - I was once asked if it was my driveway by a cop who was fining someone for being parked on the wrong side of the road (very skinny street, only parks on one side), when I said it was my house they just shrugged their shoulders.

    Another time I had some twit block my driveway and I needed to get out and go somewhere... I called the local police station and asked how I can get it towed, they basically laughed and said I should just call a tow-truck company who can come & take it away under a similar set of rules that allows them to start towing people out of clearways?

    So I called a couple of tow truck companies and neither of them wanted to do it, they said too often they don't get paid for that kind of job and that I'd need to get the police to request the tow...

    I called a taxi instead and wrote "I'm an arsehole" on the offending windscreen with a big marker, to this day I wish did it on their paintwork. I'm still very angry about it.

      You should have let one of their tyres down, too, just ot give them a taste of the inconvenience they caused you.

    Wait a minute... I have had motorists telling me for years that I should get off the road (pushbike) as I don't pay rego ? Now you are saying the council owns it. What is this sorcery you speak of.

      He would have flipped the photo for you but some people are so sharp they would check out the number plate and call him out.

      Really? I've been riding my bike to work most days for the last 20 years and I can only recall one time when someone yelled at me to get off the road (and that was a back seat passenger). Maybe you need to start being a little more courteous to other road users and not pissing them off so much?

        Depends where you live I guess. I rode my bike to work for a few months when I was living in Brisbane a while back, and got yelled at a number of times. My girlfriend used to ride to and from the gym and one time she got car doored by someone who didn't check if there was anything coming, after which the owner yelled at her because she was a bike rider and obviously it was her fault.

        Just because it hasn't happened to you, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

    Small point, but can't LH find a photo of an AUSTRALIAN car parked on the left side of the road?

    The world is Americanised enough, don't you think?

    Last edited 09/05/16 8:47 pm

      Maybe it's a one way street?

        1: Number plate isn't Australian (I think it's a US one)
        2: Steering wheel is on the left (look very closely)
        3: That model Honda isn't sold here
        4: Non-Australian leaves on the ground
        5: I should stop feeding the trolls

      The world is Americanised enough, don't you think?
      In the instance of LHD vs RHD, i'd like to see Australia join the rest of the world and swap. We're the holdouts in this instance, with Britain now allowing LHD cars, it's probably only a matter of time before they make the switch completely. That will leave Japan and Australia as the last major countries with RHD.
      And then where will we be? probably a decade behind everyone else. With local production ending, it makes even more sense to do it now.

      Last edited 10/05/16 8:17 pm

        I suspect this will never happen. The cost would be something that would give hours of endless fun in parliamentary debates and would be seen as money getting wasted when it could/should be spent on education, health, .

        " Japan and Australia as the last major countries with RHD."
        Umm, India isn't a major country with 1.3 billion people and an expanding economy and a middle class hungry for a set of wheels? Also Pakistan, most of SE Asia and most of southern Africa. Mind you, having seen the driving in India, I don't think they mind what side of the road they drive on - total chaos!

    Strangely enough if you partially block a driveway, but just (and only just) enough room for a small car to get out. For example with the pic of the vehicle was parked across where the gap was instead - that is perfectly legal. At least with my local council.

    If the council owns the nature strip and the driveway outside my fence, can I bill them for any maintenance or repairs required? Such as re concreting the driveway or mowing the nature strip?
    These are the real questions.

    A couple of years ago had a bunch of muppet next door neighbours. Obviously had a pretty big night and decided to drive home in the early hours. No idea how they actually didn't kill some one or themselves driving home they were heavily intoxicated, dumped the car right across our driveway and stumbled (fell over numerous times) to their place.

    Called the police and the best they could do was attempt to get the owner to move it, but I imagine the door knocks fell on 'passed out' ears. Because we needed to drive somewhere, the officer said the best he could do from here is attempt to manouver our car out of the driveway. He succeeded after about 5mins of twisting and turning and driving off the kerb. Not terribly impressed with the whole situation but couldn't do anything else.

    The police were nice and as helpful as possible but still disappointing in the lack of consequence for the offenders even after watching the footage! The fact that a month later the neighbours did pretty much the exact same thing attests to that. As it turned out, the police never got to speak to them, they never got an infringement, never even got a warning note on the windscreen. No wonder they didn't learn a lesson. After that experience I feel like there's no problem with parking across any driveways as it seems nothing comes of it anyway!

    I lived at a property that had two driveways. We had a tree collapse across one driveway. I came home one day for lunch and the street was full and someone was parked across the main driveway. I pulled into my driveway just enough so I was touching the fallen tree but was still parked over the footpath.

    Walked into the house and was in the kitchen for less than a minute before I had a buzz at the door. It was a ranger holding a ticket and explaining why he fined me and why I was a complete A-hole for parking there. I explained the whole situation to him and he said "Oh, sorry, I didn't realise. I actually feel bad now but it's a digital ticket. Once it's written I can't take it back"

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