NY Vehicle and Traffic Laws


New York has vehicle and traffic laws in place to keep public roadways safe and protect the public. Drivers who violate these laws face fines, administrative fees, revocation of driving privileges, and, in some cases, even jail time. Moreover, they can be held liable in civil court from any injuries and property damage they cause.

New York Laws on DUI and DWI

Under New York law, a driver commits the crime of DWI when they drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more or when they are otherwise too intoxicated to operate a vehicle safely. A driver may be charged with aggravated DWI when they drive a vehicle with a BAC of 0.18 percent or more. A driver may also face charges of driving while ability impaired if they have a BAC of 0.05 to 0.07 percent or when they have other drugs in their system.

Distracted Driving Laws in New York State

Common Car Accident Injuries
In New York, a driver cannot use a handheld cell phone or portable electronic device while driving except to call 911 or contact police, fire, or medical personnel for an emergency. Driving while using a cell phone carries a fine and points on one’s license.

New York Speed Limit Laws

Base speed limits in New York (unless otherwise posted) include:

  • 65 mph on rural interstates
  • 65 mph on urban interstates
  • 65 mph on other limited-access roads
  • 55 mph on other roads

Furthermore, New York City has a base speed limit of 25 mph on all city streets unless otherwise posted.

Railroad Crossing Rules

When crossing railroad tracks, drivers should stop at the designated crossing or no closer than 15 feet from the tracks, look both ways for trains, and cross the tracks quickly if clear.

Rules on Following Too Close

Under New York law, drivers should not follow other vehicles more closely than reasonable, given the vehicle’s speed, the traffic volume, and the highway’s condition. Trucks should also leave sufficient space when following other vehicles so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy that space without hazard.

Changing Lanes

New York law requires drivers on roadways laned for traffic to drive their vehicles entirely within a single lane. Drivers should only move from their lane once they determine they can do so safely. Drivers should use their indicators or hand signals to warn other motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians before changing lanes.

Motor Vehicle Inspection Requirements

In New York, car and light truck owners must obtain an inspection of their vehicles at least every 12 months. Inspections must occur before the expiration date of the vehicle’s current inspection sticker. Vehicles must undergo inspection whenever the vehicle’s registration transfers to a new owner.

Contact Our NYC Car Accident Lawyers for Help

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in New York City caused by another driver’s violation of NY vehicle and traffic laws, get the legal help you need to pursue fair compensation. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an NYC car accident attorney to discuss how we can stand up on your behalf.