Is an unaltered vehicle deemed a commercial vehicle pursuant to the NYC rules for stopping, standing, and parking?
Joe, a super nice member of the Boston driving community, paid for Larry’s Advice to analyze two parking tickets he received for parking a commercial vehicle in a residential neighborhood between 9 pm and 5 am (VC 78). Joe attends college in NYC during the school year, and works for a newspaper in Boston as a cub reporter during the summer. He drives a car registered in his name, with the name and address of the Boston newspaper in lettering more than 3 inches high on both sides of the car. All seats and seat fittings are intact.
NYC parking rules colliding may not be as explosive as worlds colliding, but can get pretty expensive.
What’s your advice to Joe? Fight or pay?
An unaltered vehicle is not a commercial vehicle
In my humble opinion, an unaltered vehicle is not a commercial vehicle for purposes of VC 78. Here are the Rules:
“k) Special rules for commercial vehicles.
(1) Parking of unaltered commercial vehicles prohibited.
No person shall stand or park a vehicle with commercial plates in any location unless it has been permanently altered with all seats and rear seat fittings, except the front seats, removed, except that for vehicles designed with a passenger cab and a cargo area separated by a partition, the seating capacity within the cab shall not be considered in determining whether the vehicle is properly altered, and has the name and address of the owner as shown on the registration certificate plainly marked on both sides of the vehicle in letters and numerals not less than three inches in height, in compliance with §10-127 of the Administrative Code and is also in compliance with paragraph (i ) of the definition of commercial vehicle as set forth in §4-01 of these rules.
(6) Nighttime parking of commercial vehicles prohibited.
No person shall park a commercial vehicle on a residential street, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Where a commercial vehicle is parked in violation of this paragraph, it shall be an affirmative defense to said violation, with the burden of proof on the person who received the summons, that he or she was actively engaged in business at the time the summons was issued at a premises located within three city blocks of where the summons was issued. This paragraph shall not apply to vehicles owned or operated by gas or oil heat suppliers or gas or oil heat systems maintenance companies, the agents or employees thereof, or any public utility.
Here’s the definition of “Commercial Vehicle” found in the NYC Highway and Traffic Rules:
(i)For purposes of parking, standing and stopping rules, a vehicle shall not be deemed a commercial vehicle or a truck unless (emphasis added):
(A) it bears commercial plates; and
(B) it is permanently altered by having all seats and seat fittings, except the front seats, removed to facilitate the transportation of property, except that for vehicles designed with a passenger cab and a cargo area separated by a partition, the seating capacity within the cab shall not be considered in determining whether the vehicle is properly altered; and
(C) It displays the registrant’s name and address permanently affixed in characters at least three inches high on both sides of the vehicle, with such display being in a color contrasting with that of the vehicle and placed approximately midway vertically on doors or side panels.
ii) For the purposes of rules other than parking, stopping and standing rules, a vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of property, or for the provision of commercial services and bearing commercial plates shall be deemed a commercial vehicle.
(iii) Vehicles bearing commercial or equivalent registration plates from other states or countries shall not be deemed trucks or commercial vehicles unless they are permanently altered and marked as required in (i)(B) and (C) of this definition, above.
I highlighted the language in the beginning of the Rule because therein lies the answer. The plain language of the Rule clearly provides that a unaltered vehicle is NOT deemed to be a commercial vehicle for the purposes of stopping, standing, and parking in NYC
Joe is not permitted to park a commercial vehicle vehicle on a residential street between 9 pm and 5 am
BUT…Joe’s car does not qualify as a commercial vehicle. Therefore he did not violate VC 78 (Parking a Commercial Vehicle on a residential street overnight)
The parking ticket warrior charged Joe with the wrong parking violation. The sustainable parking crime was VC82, Standing or Parking an unaltered commercial vehicle in NYC because:
- The seats and fittings behind the driver’s seat remained intact
- The car was registered to Joe. Therefore, Joe’s name and address was the name and address that should have appeared on both sides of the vehicle, not the newspaper’s name and address
I frequently speak to owners of commercial vehicles who did not realize that the name and address appearing on the side of their commercial vehicles is required to be that of the owner of the vehicle. Please be sure to comply with all the proviso’s of the rule for unaltered commercial vehicle to avoid expensive and recurring parking tickets.