How Close Can You Park to a Fire Hydrant? Complete State-by-State Guide in the U.S.

Most of us know that parking directly in front of a fire hydrant is unsafe. In the event of a fire, obstructing access to a fire hydrant could impede the ability of the fire department to do their job, increasing fire damage to property and risking lives.

However, is it illegal to park in front of or near a fire hydrant? Understanding the legality of parking near fire hydrants is especially important for drivers, since the laws related to parking near fire hydrants are somewhat specific and different between U.S. states.

Fire hydrant on sidewalk - Park next to a fire hydrant

What are the Restrictions for Parking Near a Fire Hydrant in Every State?

Although Texas prohibits parking or stopping within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, it is important to know that the laws when you park next to a fire hydrant differ across other states. While every state in the United States has a law prohibiting parking within a certain distance of a fire hydrant, the laws vary for how far away you must park.

Four states allow you to park next to a fire hydrant at a relatively close distance:  Iowa (5 feet), Vermont (6 feet), Tennessee (as close as 7.5 feet), and Rhode Island (8 feet). Nine states and the District of Columbia permit you to park next to a fire hydrant at 10 feet. All other states only allow parking next to a fire hydrant at a distance of 15 feet. The table below outlines the parking distance restrictions related to fire hydrants in every state in the United States, as well as referencing the relevant state laws.

Alabama 15 feet Ala. Code § 32-5A-137
Alaska 15 feet 13 Alaska Admin. Code § 02.340
Arizona 15 feet Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-873
Arkansas 15 feet Ark. Code § 27-51-1302
California 15 feet Cal. Veh. Code § 22514
Colorado 15 feet Colorado Title 42. Vehicles and Traffic § 42-4-1204
Connecticut 10 feet Conn. Gen. Stat. § 14-251
Delaware 15 feet Del. Code Tit. 21, § 4179
District of Columbia 10 feet D.C. Code § 2405.2
Florida 15 feet Fla. Stat. Ann. § 316.1945
Georgia 15 feet Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-203
Hawaii 15 feet Haw. Rev. Stat. § 19-15.1-8
Idaho 15 feet Idaho Code § 49-660
Illinois 15 feet Illinois Statutes Chapter 625. Vehicles § 5/11-1303
Indiana 15 feet Indiana Code Title 9. Motor Vehicles § 9-21-16-5
Iowa 5 feet Iowa Code §. 321.358
Kansas 15 feet Kan. Stat. § 8-1571
Kentucky 15 feet Ky. Rev. Stat. § 189.450
Louisiana 15 feet Louisiana Revised Statutes Tit. 32, § 143
Maine 10 feet Title 29-A, §2068: Parking
Maryland 15 feet Maryland Code, Transportation § 21-1003
Massachusetts 10 feet Parking, 720 Mass. Reg. 9.03
Michigan 15 feet MCL – Section 257.674 – Michigan Legislature
Minnesota 10 feet Minn. Stat. § 169.34
Mississippi 10 feet Miss. Code § 63-3-901
Missouri 15 feet Mo. Rev. Stat. § 300.440
Montana 15 feet Mont. Code Ann. § 61-8-354
Nebraska 15 feet Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60-6,166
Nevada 15 feet Nev. Rev. Stat. § 484B.450
New Hampshire 15 feet N.H. Rev. Stat. § 265:69
New Jersey 10 feet N.J. Stat. 39 § 4-138
New Mexico 15 feet N.M. Stat. § 66-7-351
New York 15 feet N.Y. St. VAT Sec. 1202, Art. 32, Tit. 7, Ch. 71
North Carolina 15 feet N.C. Gen. Stat. Ch. 20. Motor Vehicles § 20-162
North Dakota 10 feet N.D. Cent. Code § 39-10-49
Ohio 15 feet Ohio Rev. Code § 4511.68
Oklahoma 15 feet Okla. Stat. 47-11-1003
Oregon 10 feet Or. Rev. Stat. § 811.550
Pennsylvania 15 feet 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3353
Rhode Island 8 feet R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-21-4
South Carolina 15 feet S.C. Code § 8-912
South Dakota 15 feet S.D. Codified Laws § 32-30-6
Tennessee 7.5 to 15 feet (decided by each incorporated municipality) Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-160
Texas 15 feet Texas Transportation Code – TRANSP § 545.302
Utah 15 feet Utah Code § 41-6a-1401
Vermont 6 feet Vt. Stat. Tit. 23, § 1104
Virginia 15 feet Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-1239
Washington 15 feet WAC § 132N-156-550
West Virginia 15 feet W. Va. Code § 17C-13-3
Wisconsin 10 feet Wisc. Stat. § 346.53(3)
Wyoming 15 feet Wy. Stat. § 31-5-504

Why is it Dangerous to Park Next to a Fire Hydrant?

There are a few key reasons why all states prohibit drivers from parking near fire hydrants:

  1. Emergency Access: The primary reason is to ensure clear and unobstructed access to fire hydrants for fire trucks and firefighters in the event of a fire emergency. Hydrants provide the water supply necessary for putting out fires. If vehicles are parked too close, it can block or delay fire engines from being able to connect hose lines to the hydrant quickly. Every second counts in a fire, so immediate hydrant access is critical.
  2. Visibility: Parked vehicles in front of hydrants can obscure their visibility from the street, making it difficult for fire crews to locate them when needed. Hydrants need to be clearly visible at all times.
  3. Operating Space: Fire trucks and personnel need operating room around a hydrant to make connections, open valve stems, and deploy hoses. Parked cars eliminate the necessary space to work safely and effectively.
  4. Public Safety: House fires, building fires, wildfires – keeping hydrants accessible protects lives and property by allowing the fire department to combat blazes as swiftly as possible.
  5. Enforcement: Having universal laws against obstructing hydrants makes it easier for law enforcement and fire officials to consistently enforce the rules across jurisdictions.

Essentially, preventing parked vehicles from blocking hydrant access maximizes fire safety and firefighting capabilities. The risk of a blocked hydrant needlessly delaying fire suppression efforts is too high a price, which is why this common parking violation is prohibited nationwide.

Open Fire Hydrant Spraying High Pressure Water

Is it Illegal to Park Next to a Fire Hydrant in Texas?

Texas law prohibits drivers from stopping or parking an occupied or unoccupied vehicle within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, except to momentarily pick up or drop off passengers. Under Texas Transportation Code § 545.302, a driver that parks their vehicle within 15 feet of a fire hydrant is subject to a fine. The fine amounts vary by city within Texas when you park next to a fire hydrant. For example, the fine is $105 in Houston, $70 in Austin, and $55 in El Paso.

What are the Exceptions for Parking Next to a Fire Hydrant in Texas?

Texas Transportation Code § 545.302(e) provides an exemption that allows municipalities to adopt an ordinance that would exempt private vehicles operated by elevator constructors responding to an elevator emergency from the parking restrictions outlined in this law.

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