What are the Most Common Traffic Violations in New York State? Top 20 | Law Office of James Medows

29 May What are the Most Common Traffic Violations in New York State? Top 20

What are the Most Common Traffic Violations in New York State? Top 20

From discussions on the same over at ny-defense.com, it is safe to say that at one point or another, most of us will receive a traffic ticket and that even the most careful of drivers fall foul of the law occasionally. When it comes to traffic violations, some are more common than others, and this article will look to outline 20 of the most common traffic violations in New York State.


To the surprise of no one, speeding is one of the most common New York State traffic violations according to ny-defense.com. It seems that everyone is in a hurry to get from one point to the other, and as such, it is not surprising that speeding is on this list.

Improper cell phone use

This is another very popular New York traffic violation, which is also unsurprising given almost everyone has a smartphone today, and that use it as their primary means of communication. This violation can result in a fine and five points on the driver’s license.

Operating an uninspected vehicle

Life for New Yorkers can get pretty busy, so for many drivers, one of the last things on your mind is making sure your car has been inspected, making this another common traffic violation. In New York, as outlined at ny-defense.com, if you are a car owner, you are required to have a safety and emissions inspection once every year. The inspection must be done before the expiration date that is listed on your current inspection sticker and whenever there is a transfer in ownership of the vehicle.

Being an unlicensed operator

Another common traffic violation in New York is driving without a license. Just as is also true for operating an uninspected vehicle, this traffic violation doesn’t accrue any points on the driver’s license. However, a conviction can still mean serious fines, surcharges, and an increase in insurance premiums.

Driving in the wrong direction

In New York State, one-way roads are clearly marked, and motorists are expected to follow traffic signs and to travel in the designated direction down such a road. However, this doesn’t always happen as this is another common traffic violation in the state.

Failure to yield the right way

Motorists in New York are not only expected to yield when they approach a yield sign, they also must yield when another motorist has the right of way. If a driver doesn’t yield when required to do so by the law, they could face serious consequences. Additionally, if an accident occurs, the driver who failed to yield could also be held liable for the consequences.

Failure to signal

It is also not uncommon to see drivers in New York making turns without signaling. This is a traffic violation as discussed over at ny-defense.com, with failure to signal as required by the law being considered to be a moving violation. You could receive a traffic citation for not signaling, and could also be held legally liable if you cause an accident because you didn’t use your traffic signals properly.

Failure to move over

The New York “Move Over” Law that was passed in November 2016 requires drivers of motor vehicles to slow down and move over to allow room for a variety of emergency and hazard response vehicles. This is another common traffic violation quite a few drives choose to ignore this law. However, this traffic violation is considered a moving infraction, landing offenders with two points on their license and fines of up to $150.

Failure to stop for a school bus

For many of us, stopping for a school bus can sometimes feel like a chore and may be costing you valuable time, especially if you are behind a bus that has several stops on the road you are on, hence why this is another common traffic violation. It is important to remember, however, that failing to stop for a school bus can land you in serious trouble, and should be avoided at all costs. If you are convicted of failing to stop for a school bus, you could face a 5 points penalty on your license, a fine of up to $400, $88-$93 surcharge, and up to 30 days in jail.


Following too closely, also known as tailgating, is another common traffic violation in New York State. As outlined at ny-defense.com, drivers in New York are expected to keep a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, with failing to do so being regarded as a traffic violation.

Improper lane change

Changing lanes should also be done safely, otherwise, you could get yourself into serious trouble with the law. This is another very common traffic violation in New York as many drivers don’t always consider the safety of others when changing lanes.

Railroad crossing violation

Collisions between cars and commuter trains are almost always deadly and make for some extremely devastating news, which is why it is puzzling that this is another common traffic violation in New York. Railroad crossing violations, as covered over at ny-defense.com, come with very serious consequences given the impact any accident that may ensure can have.

Reckless driving

This is another very serious traffic violation, but one that is all too common on New York roads. Depending on how dangerous the actions are, a driver charged with reckless driving could go to jail for up to 30 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense. In addition to the criminal penalties, a reckless driving conviction will put 5 points on a driver’s license and result in a fine of up to $300 for a first offense. Remember, reckless driving is more than a moving violation – it is a misdemeanor offense that comes with a criminal record.

Tinted windows

While drivers in New York can go to great lengths to upgrade them to their liking, sometimes these upgrades can cost more than what you paid for as a simple modification to your car can land you a hefty fine. The New York law that went into effect in January of 2017 doesn’t allow a windshield or front side windows to block more than 30% of the light coming into passenger cars. The penalty for illegal window tinting can be up to $150.

Inadequate headlights

This is another very common traffic violation as most people tend to not know what the state’s laws require of them when it comes to headlights. As discussed at ny-defense.com, New Yorkers are required to use their headlights one half-hour after sunset until one half-hour before sunrise. In New York, you must also turn on your headlights when your visibility is reduced to 1,000 feet or less, as a result of bad weather conditions.

Driving without a seatbelt

For some drivers, wearing a seatbelt can be a nuisance, hence why this is a common traffic violation. According to ny-defense.com, New York has one of the strongest seatbelt laws in the country, requiring the driver and the passenger in the front seat to wear a seatbelt, and if the driver has a learner’s permit, then every passenger in the car, including those in the back, must wear a seatbelt, New York law also requires that all passengers under the age of 16 wear a seatbelt, no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. If you are pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, you will receive a ticket, which typically includes a fine and up to three points in your license.

Leaving the scene of an accident

It is worth noting that traffic law in New York requires certain steps of drivers who have been involved in an accident, and failure to follow these steps can result in serious consequences. Leaving the scene of an accident in New York involving property damage or personal injury is a serious violation with consequences such as fines of between $0 and $250 for property damage and between $250 and $5,000 for personal injury, a surcharge of $88 to $93 if a driver leaves the scene of an accident, and even jail time depending on the circumstances of the accident

Driving under the influence

As explained at ny-defense.com, New York State has five general categories of impaired driving offenses:

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) – operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more (.04% or more for commercial drivers), or impaired to a “substantial extent”

Driving while ability impaired (alcohol DWAI) – operating a vehicle while your ability to drive as a “reasonable and prudent” person has been impaired to “any extent” by alcohol


Combination DWAI

Aggravated DUI – operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .18% or higher, or driving intoxicated with a passenger who is 15 years old or younger.

The penalties for a conviction depend on the classification of the offense and the number of prior convictions the driver has within a certain period.

Tampered/marked plates or stickers

If you think that your windshield would look better without all those registration stickers on it, or you believe your plate would look prettier with stickers and engravings on it, you should stop yourself from actualizing your plans as tampering with these two is a serious violation that can cost you hefty fines.

Disobeying a traffic device

This is another extremely common traffic violation in New York State. A traffic device is a sign, signal, or marking in place to regulate, warn, or guide traffic. A ticket for this infraction is usually punishable by two points on the driver’s license plus a fine, although other traffic devices like a one-way sign or stop sign can carry more than two points.

Remember, if you need more information on this topic, or help with your traffic ticket, then the top-rated ny-defense.com has got you covered.