Changes to New York State Traffic Laws You May Have Missed

February 28, 2018 · by rosenblumlawfirm · in

The majority of vehicle and traffic violations are simple and easy for drivers to understand. You have to have your headlights on whenever your wipers are on. Dont go above the posted speed limit. Never get behind the wheel with alcohol in your bloodstream. Sometimes, however, the laws change. These could be minor updates or major pieces of legislation. Below is a list of changes to New York State vehicle and traffic law that took effect in 2017, plus two new rules that started on Jan. 1, 2018.

Updates to the Move Over law (VTL 1144-a(a)). NYS requires drivers to slow down and change lanes if possible when approaching emergency vehicles. The law, which was first passed in 2011, already applied to law enforcement vehicles, tow trucks, HELP trucks, roadway construction crews, roadway maintenance crews, and sanitation vehicles. The 2017 expansion includes any vehicle displaying a blue or green light, such as volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers who are assisting people. Penalties remain the same: $275 fine, plus a mandatory surcharge of $88 to $93 and two points on your license.

NYS Inspection for Tinted Windows (VTL 375 12-a). For years, drivers have gambled with getting window tints that violated New Yorks tint laws. Vehicle windows must allow 70 percent of light to pass through them. Too dark, and drivers face a fine of about $80 per window. Starting in Jan. 2017, vehicles are now tested for window tints as part of the annual inspection process. Cars with window tints below the 70 percent threshold will not pass inspection.

Seatbelt Requirements in Taxi and Livery Vehicles (VTL 1229-c). In Nov. 2017, new rules took effect requiring operators of taxis or livery vehicles to wear a seatbelt. In addition, front seat passengers over the age of 16 in such a vehicle must also wear a seatbelt. Violators face the same penalties as other seatbelt violations: a fine of up to $50 for adults, or $25 to $100 and three points for children. A NYS surcharge of $88 to $93 also applies in either case.  

Updated Definition for Snowmobiles (VTL 2221). Starting in Jan. 2018, the definition of snowmobile in New York States Vehicle and Traffic Laws now specifies that the vehicle is motorized and was manufactured and designed for travel on snow or ice. The definition also authorizes tracked cleats, in addition to skis and belts for support.

New Snowmobile Safety Requirements (VTL 2222). The same legislation that updated the definition of snowmobiles also limits their use to public trails and adjusts the penalties for operating an unregistered snowmobile, failing to renew a snowmobile registration and improperly displaying a snowmobile registration number. Effective Jan. 2018, the fine for such violations now ranges from $200 to $500 (previously the fine was a flat $200). The $88 to $93 state surcharge remains unchanged, and no points are applied for these violations.

It can be shocking to find yourself ticketed for a new or updated section of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. If you or someone you love has received a ticket for violating New York’s “Move Over” law, seatbelt law, or any other moving violation in New York, you need to consult with an attorney right away. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are experienced traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.