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Traffic Laws in NYC - Taxis driving in NYC

Traffic Law Lawyer in NYC

Despite the walkability of New York City and—not to mention—the most elaborate subway system in the world, the city is still always inundated with traffic and, unfortunately, plenty of subsequent car accidents too. Between the commuters, taxi cabs, rideshares, and commercial vehicles, the roads of NYC remain packed at any given time.

Most New Yorkers will urge you not to drive in the city because of traffic jams and costly parking. Even so, there are times when you must drive even if the roads are packed, and pedestrians are walking around everywhere. So, let’s take a look at some traffic laws in NYC that every driver should keep in mind.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What is New York City’s right of way law?

    It is against traffic law NYC for a driver to fail to yield the right of way to a pedestrian or a cyclist while using a crosswalk or a walk signal. This law is highly enforced since failure to yield right of way can cause serious injuries or death.

  • What is the default speed limit on New York City streets?

    In 2014, New York City changed the speed limit on roadways from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. Legislators amended this law to increase the likelihood that a pedestrian would survive if struck by a vehicle. 

  • What road signs should I be aware of in NYC?

    Besides the obvious that led you to obtain a driver’s license, some New York City road signs are in place to alleviate traffic congestion. One to be aware of is no left turn during certain hours. If you’re caught making an illegal left turn during these hours, you will be ticketed and fined.

    “Don’t block the box” is another road sign that is put in place, so drivers don’t end up causing a traffic jam. If you get caught in the middle of an intersection after the light has changed because you didn’t make the right call, you can get a heavy fine.

  • Can I use my cell phone while driving in NYC?

    Using a cell phone or other handheld apparatus while driving in New York City is against the law. If you’re caught, you’ll be fined. The only exception is using a hands-free device like a Bluetooth earpiece or the dashboard system installed in the vehicle itself. You can also use your phone’s speakerphone. Emergency phone calls are exempt from this law.

  • What is the legal blood alcohol content level for driving in NYC?

    New York City’s blood alcohol content limit is .08 percent. If you’re planning on having cocktails, just take the subway or a taxi.

  • Is there a law about smoking in your car while driving in NYC?

    You cannot smoke in a car if any passengers are under 18 years old. You also cannot smoke on any public transportation, buses, vans, or limousines. 

  • What about parking near fire hydrants or crosswalks in NYC?

    You must park a full 15-feet away from a fire hydrant in New York City or risk being towed. If you park near a crosswalk, your tires must not be inside any part of the crosswalk. You risk a fine if you violate this law.

  • What is NYC’s safe passing law?

    The safe passing law requires drivers to pass cyclists to the left when overtaking and to leave adequate space between the cyclist and the vehicle. Currently, there is legislation on the table to mandate that a safe distance will be clarified as three feet.

  • Can you turn right on red in NYC?

    New York City is one of the only cities where it is illegal to turn right on a red, even after a complete stop, unless you have a sign that says it’s permitted. This law is particularly important for visitors as native New Yorker pedestrians do not watch for cars turning when the light is green for them. 

  • What are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in NYC?

    You can face severe consequences by leaving the scene of an accident in New York City. These include fines, license suspension or revocations, points on your license, and increased insurance rates. If you leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured or if there was property damage, you can face jail time and a criminal record.

    These consequences apply even if the other driver was responsible for the accident. Both drivers must at least stop and exchange insurance information. To prove damages were incurred from a traffic accident, a police report is critical. That’s why you should always call and wait for the police to arrive. 

    Obviously, if you’re seriously injured, you should go to the hospital right away. But even if you’re not sure if you are injured, go see your doctor anyway. Sometimes even minor accidents can cause significant damage that may not surface right away. Your doctor can document evidence of your injuries which will be invaluable should you need to bring a lawsuit. 

  • What does New York’s no-fault car insurance law mean to me?

    Suppose you’ve been involved in a traffic accident in New York City. In that case, there are some NYC traffic laws you should be aware of as they can impact your ability to get compensation for any injuries you’ve suffered or damages to your property. 

    New York State has a no-fault car insurance law. Drivers must maintain basic levels of insurance on their vehicles to cover injury claims. These are typically called personal injury protection or medical benefits coverage. That means if you’re in a car accident, your car insurance should cover your medical bills for any physical injuries until the coverage is maxed out.

    However, under New York’s no-fault car insurance structure, damages to vehicles are different. You can make a claim against the at-fault driver for repairs or replacement of your vehicle. 

    The no-fault law does have stipulations for serious injuries, though. Under New York law, a serious injury includes the following:

    • Death
    • Dismemberment
    • Significant disfigurement
    • A fracture
    • Loss of a fetus
    • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
    • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
    • A significant limitation of use of a body function or system

    If you’ve experienced any of the above due to a driver’s failure to follow traffic laws NYC, then you have the right to be compensated through the wrongdoer’s insurance or through a personal injury lawsuit.

  • How to choose a New York traffic injury lawyer

    Consulting with a New York traffic injury lawyer is in your best interests to recover damages. However, finding a highly qualified one can be daunting. You want to make sure you choose one that is tough, has many resources, and experience specializing in car accident injuries and damages. Here are some questions to ask while you interview a New York traffic injury lawyer.

    1. How many car accident cases have you managed? Specializing in car accident cases is different from years of experience, even if they are a capable injury lawyer. An expert car accident injury lawyer will be better equipped to handle negotiations with insurance providers and have extensive knowledge of New York City statutes and case law.
    2. How many cases have you taken to trial? Although many cases are settled out of court, you’ve probably experienced serious injuries since you’ve decided to hire an attorney. It’s important to know if your choice of attorney has trial experience. In some instances, when the insurance company or the individual that caused the injury is playing hardball, you’ve simply got to take the case to trial.
    3. Will I work with you directly, or will I be working with your staff? Typically, a personal injury lawyer will have staff helping to gather documents, check court dates, and assemble witness information. However, you should feel comfortable about the level of communication you’ll receive directly from your lawyer.
  • Why should I choose Morgan & Morgan if I’ve been injured in an NYC traffic accident?

    We understand that it’s not just you who we are fighting for. You have people that depend on you for care and financial support. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, everyday tasks that you and your family may have taken for granted are now impacted. 

    We are still a family-run law firm even though we’re one of the largest in the U.S. Family means something to us. Your family means something to us, and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to make sure you get everything you deserve from someone else’s negligence. 

    We’re not afraid to go to trial if necessary and have trial-ready lawyers ready to pursue action to the greatest extent of the law. We do the heavy lifting like gathering documentation, finding witnesses, and reviewing dashcams or video surveillance footage to bolster your case. When we’ve done all the grunt work and are sure we’re ready to make the best possible case on your behalf, we start negotiations with the defendant.

    Let us help you get back on track with your life. Our consultations are free, and we don’t make a dime unless you do. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! So contact us today and get the power of Morgan & Morgan behind you and your family.

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