Law Prohibits “ICEing” of Charging Stations in Montgomery County, MD

A Montgomery County, Maryland law that makes it illegal to ICE a public charging station went into effect on  June 11, 2014.

Here is the relevant portion of the new law.

Montgomery County Code
§ 31-26B. Parking spaces reserved for a plug-in vehicle.
(c) A person may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle that is not a plug-in vehicle in a space that:
(1) is marked for use of plug-in vehicles with an official sign that conforms to regulations adopted pursuant to Section 31-23; and
(2) provides access to a plug-in vehicle recharging station.

This law was a long time coming. A version of this bill was introduced in the Maryland General Assembly in 2012 as HB 108. One of my state delegates, Guy Guzzone,  was a co-sponsor of that bill but it died. A similar bill introduced in 2013 as HB 1149 also died. Finally, the prime sponsor of those two Maryland House Bills, Eric Luedtke of Montgomery County, suggested that County Council member Hans Riemer take up the cause and sponsor legislation in the County based on the stalled state bills.

Testifying in support of Montgomery County Bill 32-13 on January 28, 2014.

When the day rolled around for public comment, I went before the Montgomery County Council and testified in support of the bill. I told them about my experience as an EV driver being blocked from using a charging station.

The Montgomery County Council passed the bill unanimously.

So what does this law mean for us? Will it apply on private property? I’m not a lawyer so these answers are based on my understanding of the bill and my familiarity with the discussion surrounding it. As I understand, this will be enforceable on publicly accessible private property similar to how handicapped parking is enforced there.

What will the penalty be? A fine of less than $100. No provision to tow.

Example of an official sign (MUTCD R7-11)

Does there have to be a sign? Yes, it has to be an official sign. Signs must conform in design, color, size, and placement to the standards established in the most recent edition of the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.”

How many charging stations in Montgomery County have the proper “official sign” installed? None that I know of yet.

Will the police actually write tickets? That is yet to be determined. Presumably they will if they receive a complaint. But my wish is that awareness of the new law will provide enough deterrent to make those who would ICE a charging station to think twice before doing so.