For a courier engaged in delivery work within the UK, the rules of the road are clear-cut. Drivers know the rules they have to follow, and (for the most part) conform to them. Couriers can focus on finding their way to an unfamiliar destination, or on taking extra care when loading or unloading goods. Familiarity with local traffic laws is undoubtedly a huge boon to a courier’s work, but some ‘rules of the road’ from around the globe might leave a driver scratching their heads in bemusement. Here are the strangest traffic laws we’ve seen around the world.
As 2010 began, Germany implemented a law that every car entering Berlin, Munich, Cologne, and ten other cities in the country had to display an environmental sticker. If you’re a courier driving to Germany from outside the country, failing to display the sticker could lead to a fine.
In Montreal, Canada, a courier might find themselves stymied when it comes to parking. It’s illegal to park in such a manner as to block your own driveway, and it is against the law to wash a car parked on the street. Finally, cars parked in public places, by law, must have their windows down to a width less than a hand. Couriers may not want to leave their vehicle if it’s raining!
One Southern American state, Georgia, has a law prohibiting the act of spitting from a car or a bus. However, good news for a courier whose choice of vehicle is a truck – spitting from the windows of a truck is perfectly fine. Other states have differing laws that must make being a courier in the USA interesting – in Illinois, trucks may only park inside closed garages. In Virginia, you cannot shoot any animal from a moving car… any animal other than a whale. In Florida, if you keep an animal such as an alligator or elephant next to a parking meter, you must put money into the meter as if you’d parked a car there. A useful clarification for those couriers delivering animals to the circus!
There are some famously strange laws in the UK that could make for interesting delivery work. It is illegal for a cab in London to carry rabid dogs or corpses. However, as this law only applied to cabs, it should pose no problem for a truck or car-driving courier. Additionally, all those ‘livestock-herding’ jobs can be made a lot easier in London; ‘Freemen’ of the city are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll. It must have been a useful law for the medieval courier. Another holdover from medieval times would have been very relevant to seafaring deliveries. Any Royal Navy ships that entered the Port of London were by law required to provide a barrel full of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.
Interestingly, the ancient ‘London Hackney Carriage Laws’ still cause disputes amongst modern-day taxis, and might be a law to recognize for a courier as well. The law states that carriages must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats. Some firms have manufactured tiny bales of hay to be kept in a glove compartment, so that drivers can still remain within the law.