Motorists risk receiving traffic tickets when they drive in New York due to crackdowns and initiatives, and it’s almost always better to fight the tickets due to the large fees and penalties that drivers face when convicted of those offenses.
NYC Traffic Tickets
There are so many different traffic laws for New Yorkers to know that it's inevitable for drivers to slip up and receive a traffic ticket. Most moving violations in New York carry points, such as Failure to Yield (3 points) and Following Too Closely (4 points). While some tickets only carry 2 or 3 points, there are others that are more heavily penalized due to their severity. Speeding tickets range from 3 to 11 points, depending on the driver's speed, while cell phone tickets, reckless driving tickets, and passing a stopped school bus tickets each carry 5 points - these are the highest point tickets in New York besides high speeding tickets. If a driver accumulates 11 points on their driver's license within an 18 month period, their license may be suspended. In addition, 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about extra fees in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. The points can also cause insurance premiums to increase, which will cost drivers far more money beyond just the original traffic ticket fine.
Distracted Driving and Cell Phone Tickets
Over the past few years, New York has passed a number of tough traffic laws, such as penalizing the use of cell phones and portable electronic devices in an effort to combat distracted driving accidents. Cell phone tickets initially did not have points attached to them, but that changed in February 2011 when all cell phone tickets also came with 2 points. In June 2013, that penalty was increased to 5 points. This is because cell phone use while driving is a huge contributor to fatal accidents. State and local police often stage cell phone and distracted driving crackdowns multiple times a year in order to curb these dangerous habits and save lives.
Vision Zero is Mayor de Blasio's policy to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York, which includes a reduction of the un-posted city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph and increased targeting of Failure to Yield to Pedestrian violations. The amount of speeding tickets issued in NY has dramatically increased since the speed limit was lowered, and the amount of Failure to Yield tickets has increased by over 125% from the previous year. In addition, a Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian offense that results in death or serious injury has now become a misdemeanor offense as part of Vision Zero. Pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City are at their lowest point since 1910, so drivers can expect this policy to keep moving forward.
New York law enforcement agencies often stage week-long or month-long crackdowns for different traffic offenses throughout the year. Just recently, state police participated in National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, in which they targeted cell phone users but also gave out a large number of speeding tickets, seat belt tickets, and other moving violation tickets. Police also regularly engage in "Click It or Ticket" campaigns - while adult drivers and passengers do not receive points on a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, drivers can get 3 points on their license if any underage passengers are not securely buckled in. Police will also target commercial truck drivers whose trucks are over the allowed weight limit. These crackdowns are meant to increase safety awareness and help put a stop to dangerous driving practices, but traffic tickets issued during these periods can always be fought.
How Can a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Help?
NYC traffic tickets can be a heavy burden for drivers, whether it's due to the financial hardships they impose or the possibility of losing driving privileges. New York traffic ticket lawyers can often help clients by using their many years of experience navigating through the traffic court system to gain favorable outcomes. While no particular outcome can ever be guaranteed, drivers can at least be secure in the knowledge that they're entrusting their driving record to an experienced lawyer who can put forward a valid defense. In addition, traffic ticket attorneys can also save drivers valuable time by making court appearances without having their clients present.
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