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New York Traffic Laws

Regardless of whether you're driving in upstate New York or NYC, understanding the traffic laws in The Empire State will help keep you safe on the road. It can also help you avoid a traffic ticket from law enforcement.

In this article, you can learn more about New York traffic offenses, driving regulations, and motor vehicle laws.

Use the following driving manuals and vehicle codes to brush up on the New York rules of the road:

The driving manuals and vehicle codes in the bullets above cover many topics. The links at the end of this article also go in-depth about state-specific traffic laws and safety regulations. This page and the linked materials will help you learn about:

  • Basic driving laws, like who has the right-of-way, overtaking vehicles, and left turns
  • Speed limits for varying public highways, private roads, residential areas, and other roadways
  • Crossing paths with an authorized emergency vehicle or school bus
  • Regulations unique to for-hire vehicles, limited-use vehicles, and commercial drivers
  • Traffic control devices and signals like stop lights, yield signs, and stop signs
  • Restrictions on using cell phones, text messaging devices, and other wireless communication devices while driving
  • Impaired driving and driving under the influence (DUI/DWI)
  • Required vehicle equipment such as headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and license plates

What To Know When Driving in New York City

New York City drivers must follow some additional rules that are unique from state law. This is because of the city's unique traffic conditions and population density. NYC also has significantly more pedestrians, cyclists, and ridesharing vehicles on their roads, calling for different regulations to ensure public safety.

Some of the city's distinctive restrictions to know include:

  • No right on red: Turning right on a red light is prohibited in NYC unless a sign is present indicating otherwise
  • Bike lanes: Motor vehicles are not permitted to drive or park in designated bike lanes
  • Crosswalks: Pedestrians always have the right of way at NYC crosswalks, both marked and unmarked
  • Honking: Drivers can receive a ticket and fine up to $350 for unnecessary honking in NYC

Resources for New York Drivers

New York State's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is motorists' hub for vehicle registrations, certificate or title information, driver licensing, and more.

Drivers can visit the New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) website for traffic, weather, and roadway updates, including:

  • Traffic and accident reports (Use NY511 for real-time updates)
  • Work zones and construction advisories
  • Traveler information, such as rest stop locations
  • Current road conditions, inclement weather, and winter driving tips
  • Commuter resources and public transportation guides

Table of New York Traffic Laws

Find New York statutes for specific traffic regulations and violations below.

Drinking & Driving Violations Alcohol and Drug-Related Offenses(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 31)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License Licensing of drivers; violations (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 509)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Financial security; registration(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 312)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Registration of motor vehicles (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 401)
Illegal U-Turn U-turns in certain areas prohibited (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 1161)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Leaving scene of an accident without reporting (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 600)
Mechanical Violations Equipment of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Sections 375 - 383)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 1212)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Traffic signs, signals, and markings(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 24, Sections 1110 - 1117)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Operation of vehicles with safety seats and safety belts (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code section 1229-c)
Speeding Speed restrictions(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 30)
Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Equipment of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles (NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 9)

Traffic Violation? Get Legal Help

If you have been cited for a traffic infraction in the state of New York, you should contact a traffic ticket attorney in your area for legal advice. An experienced attorney knowledgeable about your state laws can review your citation and help you contest the ticket in traffic court. This may save you an expensive fine, points on your driving record, and a spike in your car insurance premiums. It could even prevent a driver's license suspension or revocation.

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