How Long Till Red-Tagged Car Is Towed?

WHEN WILL THIS CAR BE TOWED? Sandy of Rio Rancho emails “we have a vehicle that was red-tagged on Sept. 28 on the corner of our street. … It sat for almost a week before it was tagged and now is approaching three weeks of being tagged.”

Sandy’s question is “when will it get towed? It is a traffic hazard. It’s parked about 2 feet out from the curb and is barely visible because of the hedge in the yard; it’s only when you turn the corner that you see it and go ‘Oh crap!’ and have to swing wide to miss it. It has a plate and is fairly new. No apparent mechanical issues, just abandoned. It is not a car that belongs to any of the neighbors.”

Sgt. Nicholas Onken of the Rio Rancho Police Department says that “abandoned vehicles that are not in traffic are required to be ‘tagged’ — the red sticker — for 30 days. During that time, a certified letter is sent to the owner of the vehicle advising that the vehicle is illegally/improperly parked and advising them to move it immediately. After 30 days, an officer is allowed to have the vehicle towed off the street. All vehicles that are maintained on a public street or on private property must be registered and in running condition.”

The city ordinance on abandoned vehicles is 12-1-2 and says:

” ‘Abandoned Vehicle’ means a vehicle or motor vehicle which has been determined by a New Mexico law enforcement agency:

(1) to have been left unattended on either public on private property for at least thirty days;

(2) not to have been reported stolen;

(3) not to have been claimed by any person asserting ownership; and

(4) not to have shown by normal record checking procedures to be owned by any person. (66-1-4.1 NMSA 1978).”

AND HOW CLOSE CAN YOU PARK TO A CORNER? Sandy’s question brings to mind another parking question from the Cabezon area, namely is it legal to park close to a busy corner and present a potential hazard to turning traffic?

Sgt. Onken points to the parking ordinance — 12-6-6.1 STOPPING, STANDING OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN SPECIFIED PLACES — which says in short that drivers shouldn’t park in the following places unless it’s to avoid a traffic conflict, is allowed by law or is recommended by a police officer:

“On a sidewalk; in front of a public or private driveway; within an intersection; within 15 feet of a fire hydrant; on a crosswalk; within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection; within 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing beacon, stop sign, or traffic-control signal located at the side of a street; within a fire lane; within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing; within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to any fire station within 75 feet of said entrance; … upon any bridge or other elevated structure upon a street or within a street tunnel; … on any railroad track.”

In addition, the city law says parked vehicles must be “within 18 inches of the right-hand curb,” should not be double-parked (left in the traffic lane) or parked to block a driveway or leave less than 10 feet of travel space in an alley. Overnight parking on non-residential streets is not allowed unless the driver is a doctor on an emergency call, and vehicles wider/taller than 7 feet can not be parked on a residential street overnight unless items/passengers are being loaded/unloaded.

Drivers are also not to park a vehicle on a street for the purpose of “displaying the vehicle for sale; or washing, greasing or repairing the vehicle except repairs necessitated by an emergency.”

As for how close you should park to a corner?

According to the Motor Vehicle Division Driver License Manual’s “No-Parking Zones” section, “Do not park … within 30 feet of a traffic signal, stop sign or yield sign.”

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Thursdays. Reach her at 823-3858;; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; or go to to read previous columns and join in the conversation.

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