Are Tractor-Trailers Allowed to Drive in NYC?

backed up traffic on a rainy day in new york

Tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles carry many of the goods we use every day, but they also pose a significant safety hazard for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. In a dense, crowded city like New York, semi-trucks can also cause catastrophic traffic jams as they struggle to navigate narrow streets with sharp turns. For these reasons, New York City regulations bar tractor-trailers from driving on most parkways.

Unfortunately, truck drivers in New York do not always follow city regulations, might ignore them, or may be unaware of them. Truck accidents frequently cause catastrophic injuries and cost crash victims thousands of dollars in medical bills. In some cases, someone injured in a truck accident might develop a permanent disability. The New York City truck accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. have helped thousands of people recover compensation after a crash. Following is more information on where trucks can drive in New York.

Where Can Semi-Trucks Drive in New York City?

According to the New York City Department of Transportation, tractor-trailers and most other commercial vehicles must use the New York City Truck Route Network to reach their destination. These rules do not apply to emergency vehicles or public utility vehicles performing emergency services. Any vehicle that doesn’t meet the city’s definition of a commercial vehicle or truck does not have to use the Truck Route Network, though they must comply with any posted traffic signs.

The Truck Route Network consists of two groups of roads, and each group has a different use. The Local Truck Route Network is for trucks making trips with an origin and destination within one of the city’s boroughs. Commercial vehicle drivers making trips that do not start or end in a borough must use the Through Truck Route Network, which comprises major urban roads and highways within the city.

When a commercial truck’s destination is not located along the Truck Route Network, drivers can use local roads to get where they need to go. However, the truck driver must leave the designated truck route at the intersection closest to their destination, use the most direct way to reach their destination, and return to the truck route using the most direct route.

Size and Weight Restrictions for Commercial Trucks in NYC

The NYC Department of Transportation says trucks that meet the following size and weight restrictions can drive on interstates and use the Truck Route Network:

  • Maximum width of 8 feet
  • Maximum height of 13 feet, 6 inches
  • Maximum length of 55 feet for tractor-trailer combinations or 35 feet for single-unit vehicles

The maximum weight limit for commercial trucks in NYC is 80,000 pounds in most cases, though there are lower weight limits for certain roads and bridges. A truck’s weight limit also depends on how many axles it has and the spacing between them.

Where Can Semi-Trucks with 53-Foot Trailers Drive in NYC?

Some combination commercial trucks have trailers that are 53 feet long, which puts them outside the city’s length restrictions for commercial vehicles. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, drivers operating a commercial vehicle with a 53-foot trailer can only travel through New York to reach destinations on Long Island. Furthermore, truck drivers towing 53-foot trailers may only use the following interstates to reach their destination:

  • Interstate 95 from the Bronx/Westchester County line to Interstate 295
  • Interstate 295 from the junction with Interstate 95 to the Throgs Neck Bridge and from there to the Long Island Expressway (Interstate 495)
  • Interstate 495 from the junction with Interstate 295 to the Queens/Nassau County line

How Semi-Trucks Cause Accidents in NYC

Despite the strict rules to prevent truck crashes, semi-truck accidents still happen in New York. Some of the ways a semi-truck can cause an accident in New York include:

  • Navigating sharp turns – Semi-trucks with long trailers often have trouble navigating sharp corners. If a truck driver is not careful, they could cut the corner too sharply and collide with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist.
  • Sudden stops – A semi-truck can cause an accident on a crowded street if it stops suddenly and another car following behind the truck crashes into it.
  • Bridge strikes – There are low bridges, elevated train crossings, and other obstacles located throughout New York. Because semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles sit higher off the ground than passenger cars, they are more likely to hit a bridge or other obstacle if the truck driver does not pay attention.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents – Even when they use the Truck Route Network, semi-truck drivers in NYC still drive close to pedestrians and cyclists. Truck drivers who do not exercise caution at intersections and crosswalks can severely injure or kill a cyclist or pedestrian in a crash.

Compensation from an NYC Tractor-Trailer Accident Claim

If you sustained injuries from a truck accident in New York, a truck crash attorney could help you pursue compensation for:

  • Any medical bills for crash-related injuries
  • Lost wages and reduced future earnings due to your injuries
  • Physical pain from your injuries
  • Emotional distress related to the accident
  • Your diminished quality of life due to an injury or disability
  • Any personal property damaged in the accident

How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in New York?

According to state law, you have three years from the date of a truck accident to file a lawsuit against any liable parties. If you miss this deadline, you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation for your injuries in court, and you will have lost valuable leverage to get the insurance company to pay.

How a New York City Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer Can Help

Our New York City tractor-trailer accident attorneys have decades of experience helping people like you recover compensation after a crash. We can gather evidence to identify the liable parties, determine whether anyone involved in the collision broke local traffic regulations, and document all the injuries you sustained. We will take care of all the legal work in your case and negotiate with the insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement. If settlement negotiations prove fruitless, we can help you take the insurance company to court.

Our experienced and dedicated legal team is ready to start on your New York truck accident case at your earliest convenience. Call Finz & Finz, P.C. today or visit our contact page for a free consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.