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No Stopping, No Standing, No Parking: What do they mean?

We see signs telling us No Standing, No Stopping, and No Parking all the time, but what exactly do they mean?

• Does "no stopping" mean you're supposed to run red lights?

• Does "no standing" mean you can't drop someone off at the curb?

• Does "no parking" mean you can't unload a truck near the sign?

Laws vary from city to city, and most of the time, penalties for breaking these rules are set by individual municipalities, which also have a little wiggle room in interpreting what the signs mean. You should always check local ordinances, but as the signage experts, we're here to explain the main differences.
No stopping signs

No stopping signs mean no dropping people off or picking them up, and no loading/unloading trucks. You're not supposed to be here unless you're moving.

Don't just run over pedestrians at a crosswalk or keep driving no matter what. You should still stop to obey other traffic signs and signals. If police tell you to stop, you must still stop despite the sign.

• In some cities, these signs are invalidated on "major legal holidays." Unless you're doing something dangerous, you shouldn't be ticketed for violating this sign on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

No standing signs

No standing signs usually mean you can drop people off or pick them up, but you still can't load or unload things from cars or trucks.

• These signs really mean not a loading zone.

• In most cities, a No Standing sign means you can stop and wait, as long as the driver stays behind the wheel (and in some places, the car must keep running).

No parking signs

• In most cities, no parking signs ironically mean you can stop the car, and you can load or unload people and goods, but you can't leave the car alone. (Check out an example of these laws in Illinois.)

• As ever, if police tell you to move along, you're responsible for complying with their request no matter what signs tell you to do - police overrule traffic signs.

• No parking signs rely on the distinction between parking and stopping. In California and most other states and cities, parking means leaving your car, while standing means moving goods around, and stopping just means not moving your car.