New York Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • All moving violation convictions of New York drivers occurring in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario are reported and recorded in New York. Under special agreements with these provinces, convictions in either are treated exactly as though they occurred in New York. The same is true for drivers from Quebec or Ontario who commit violations within New York.
  • New York State has strict laws governing illegal possession and transportation of handguns. Law-abiding citizens should therefore be particularly careful since they face severe consequences should they inadvertently violate the state’s myriad, technical, anti-gun provisions.
  • On a divided, multi-lane interstate highway, even if there’s a ½-mile median strip, if a school bus is stopped along side the road with its passenger discharge lights on, all lanes of traffic must stop.
  • Parkways in New York are for passenger vehicles with noncommercial tags only.The agency that controls a parkway decides if pickup trucks with passenger class plates are allowed on the parkway. To make sure you can drive your pickup truck on a parkway, contact the agency that manages the parkway. Some parking regulations and traffic regulations in New York City depend on the type of vehicle plates on your vehicle. Passenger class plates on your pickup truck can change how NYC regulations affect you. Contact New York City about their regulations.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 65, Trucks 65
Urban Interstates: Cars 55*, Trucks 55*
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 55*, Trucks 55*

* Except for certain designated highways
(http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/speedlimit_laws.html)

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: Yes
Automated Speed Enforcement: Yes (Only in school zones in New York City)
Aircraft: Yes
Laser: Yes

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed
No

Discovery
Not allowed – use public records requests and requests at trial instead

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact
Yes

Member of Driver License Compact
Yes

When and Where to File Accident Reports

If you are in an accident, you are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to stop and exchange information with the involved drivers. If the accident caused property damage only, then exchange information about your driver license, insurance, and registration with the involved drivers. If a parked vehicle or other property is damaged, or if a domestic animal is injured, you must locate the owner or contact the police.

  • If the property damage of any person is $1,001 or more, all the involved drivers are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident (MV-104). File form MV-104 with the DMV no more than 10 days after the accident. The DMV can suspend your driver license if you fail to report an accident.
  • If a person is injured or killed, you are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to immediately notify the police. All the involved drivers and the police must file an accident report with the DMV. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.
  • The accident appears on the records of all the involved drivers. An accident listed on your driver record does not indicate that you were at fault. The DMV does not try to determine fault in an accident.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $25,000
$50,000 because of the death of one person in one accident and $50,000 for two or more persons injured in any one accident and $100,000 for the deaths of two or more persons in one accident.
Property Damage: $10,000
Uninsured motorist coverage is required
New York is a “no-fault” state

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: All drivers
All Cell Phone Ban: No
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for all offenses
http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx

Other Regulations

  • Open intoxicants are prohibited in the vehicle.
  • The BAC level is .08%, but the level for the lesser charge of “Ability Impaired” is .06.
  • New York has an administrative license suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a six month driver’s license revocation.
  • New York has hard gun laws; unlicensed carry in NY City is a mandatory jail sentence.
  • Studded tires are permitted for use between October 16 and April 30.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • New York has a seat belt law with primary enforcement for all occupants. Points are assessed to your license if ticketed for unbelted children (3 points) but not for unbelted adults.
  • New York has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 12 years of age. Children under age 1 must use approved car safety seats. Adult safety belt may be used for ages 1-5 in rear seat only and ages 6-11 in all seats.
  • New York has a mandatory motorcycle helmet law for all persons, and a bicycle helmet law for ages under 16.
  • Registration and insurance card must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
Telephone: 505/827-9000 (Department Of Public Safety) or http://www.dmv.ny.gov/broch/c49.htm (Traffic Violations Bureau)
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: 911