Abandoned Vehicles

AbandonedVehicleCampbell Municipal Code (CMC) Section 10.24.015 prohibits the storage of vehicles on public streets, alleys or in public parking lots. "Storage" is defined as parking a vehicle for a period of 72 hours or more without driving the vehicle at least one mile. Vehicles found in violation of this ordinance may be cited and/or towed as authorized under Vehicle Code (VC) Section 22651(k).

Although not required by law, the Police Department may post a warning notice upon a parked vehicle prior to having it removed. This notice advises the owner or person in control of the vehicle that if the vehicle is found to be unlawfully stored or abandoned the vehicle will be cited and/or towed. 

Reporting a Stored or Abandoned Vehicle

To report an abandoned or stored vehicle, call 408-866-2712. You will be asked to leave a recorded message, including the location, description, and license number of the vehicle. The Police Department will inspect and mark the vehicle within two business days. 

Vehicles may be immediately towed from a public highway or right-of-way if found without an engine, transmission, wheels, tires, doors, windshield or any other part or equipment necessary for safe operation (22669(d) VC). Any person abandoning a vehicle may be cited and fined no less than $100 (22523 VC). 

Questions and Answers

Why is parking limited to 72 hours on public roadways?

Public roadways are intended for vehicular travel and temporary parking only. The storage or abandonment of a vehicle on a public roadway is prohibited in all cities in Santa Clara County. Storage is defined as parking a vehicle for a period of 72 hours or more. Unsightly dirt and debris tends to accumulate on and around stored vehicles. Stored vehicles also prevent street sweepers from clearing dirt and litter from the roadway.

Once I report an unlawfully stored or abandoned vehicle, how long will it take before the Police Department takes action to cite or tow the vehicle?

The Police Department will inspect the vehicle within two business days of receiving a report that the vehicle is being unlawfully stored or is abandoned. In most cases, a warning notice will be left upon the vehicle, the tires will be marked, and the odometer reading (if available) will be noted. The vehicle will be re-checked after at least 72 hours have elapsed. Vehicles that have not been driven at least one mile will be cited and/or towed.

I have previously reported an unlawfully stored or abandoned vehicle and it is back on the street again. The owner is avoiding compliance with the law by moving the vehicle only when a warning notice is left. Can the Police Department do anything to prevent this abuse?

Yes, if the Police Department is aware that the owner of an unlawfully stored vehicle has previously received a warning notice, the vehicle may be inconspicuously marked and no additional warning notice will be provided.

A vehicle has been repeatedly parked on my street or in front of my home. This is bothersome to me and/or other neighbors. Can the owner be required to park the vehicle elsewhere?

Unless otherwise prohibited by law (e.g. red curb, fire hydrant), a vehicle may be parked anywhere on a public roadway providing the vehicle is not unlawfully stored, abandoned, or in violation of any other state or local ordinance.

Is it lawful for large commercial vehicles to park in a residential area?

Commercial vehicles with a gross-weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds may not be:
  • Parked in a residential driveway or yard
  • Parked on a residential street for more than two hours
  • Parked on a residential street between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM
Parking of large commercial vehicles as described above is permitted on public streets in industrial areas (CMC 10.28.030).

To report commercial vehicle parking violations, call the Campbell Communications Center at 408-866-2101.

May I leave a vehicle parked on the street while I am out of town?

Vehicles may be parked on the street without being driven for up to 72 hours. Vehicles remaining after 72 hours could be cited and or towed. Vehicles parked or stored for longer periods should be parked on private property (see also below).

Are there any restrictions on storing vehicles on private property?

Vehicles may only be stored on private property with permission from the property owner (CMC 10.24.055). Owners of private property generally have authority to remove unauthorized vehicles without notice at the expense of the vehicle owner (22658 VC).

It is unlawful to store or accumulate abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof on private property (CMC 10.44.010). When these conditions are reported to or observed by the Police Department, written notice will be given to the vehicle and/or property owner that the vehicle must be removed or it will be towed by the Police Department and the expense for towing and disposing of the vehicle will be charged to the vehicle and/or property owner.