All curbside mailboxes need to a door to perform their intended function. Mail couriers must open the mailbox's door to leave the mail for residents at the respective address. The door creates a secure environment by protecting the mailbox's mail from damage. When shopping for curbside mailboxes, though, you may discover that some of them have a door on the back. So, do these rear-entry curbside mailboxes comply with the United States Postal Service's (USPS's) requirements?
A Single Carrier Service Door Is Required
The USPS requires all curbside mailboxes to have a single carrier service door. The carrier service door, of course, is used by mail couriers to deliver mail. It's found on the front of curbside mailboxes. To open it, mail couriers must pull down the carrier service door from a fixed handle or knob.
According to the USPS, carrier service doors must rotate to a minimum of 100 degrees when fully open. With that said, the USPS recommends that carrier service doors rotate to no more than 120 degrees. If it rotates beyond this range, the carrier service door may break away from the mailbox's hinges. The USPS has other requirements for carrier service doors as well. The handles, knobs and hinges, for instance, must be resistant to rain, sleet, snow and rain. Furthermore, mail couriers must be able to open carrier service doors by applying no more than 5 pounds of force.
A Rear-Access Is Optional
While all curbside mailboxes are required to have a carrier service door, they aren't required to have a rear-access door. A rear-access door -- a separate door found on the back of curbside mailboxes -- is optional. The USPS allows curbside mailboxes to have a single rear-access door, assuming it doesn't interfere with couriers' ability to deliver mail. If present, the rear-access door must also be resistant to the force of large mail inserted into the mailbox. In other words, the rear-access door shouldn't open if mail is pushed against it from the inside of the curbside mailbox.
The purpose of a rear-access door is to provide residents with an alternative opening from which they can retrieve their mail. Curbside mailboxes must be installed 41 to 45 inches from the road. Since they are relatively close to the road, some residents prefer to use a rear-access door. With a rear-access door, residents can retrieve their mail without stepping in front of the curbside mailbox.
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