New York’s New Cell Phone Laws

Posted by Matthew Weiss on November 06, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips
distracted driving

Using cellphone while driving

Effective Saturday, November 8, 2014, the penalties and fines for tickets for illegally using a cell phone and texting-while-driving will increase. The new law increases the maximum fines for texting and talking while driving. The maximum fine for a first offense will increase from $150 to $200. For a second offense — committed within 18 months of the previous offense — fines will increase from $200 to $250. A third violation or subsequent violations committed within 18 months will increase from $400 to $450.

For young drivers under 21 with junior licenses, a first conviction for texting or talking while driving will now result in a 120-day license or permit suspension. Young drivers will also face a one-year license or permit revocation for a second violation within six months of their license’s or permit’s restoration.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been consistently pushing for laws to punish this dangerous behavior raising the penalty for such an offense from 0 to 5 points. Drivers who receive 11 points within an 18-month period can be suspended. Cuomo said, “Driving habits are developed early, and we are sending a message that texting while driving is unsafe, unacceptable and downright dangerous. There have been far too many avoidable tragedies due to texting while driving, and with these new penalties, we are seeking to change the behavior of young drivers now, and make New York’s roadways safer for all.”

The number of texting tickets jumped 83% between 2012 and 2013, to nearly 56,000. As of July, 2014, 19,291 tickets were issued to drivers outside of New York City for texting while driving, compared to 23,808 tickets for all of last year.

 

NYC’s 25 MPH Speed Limit

Posted by Matthew Weiss on October 15, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 9.26.14 AMQuestion:  When there are no speed signs posted on a New York City street or stretch of roadway, how fast can you drive?  If you answered 30 mph, you’d be right until November 7th.  On that date, the un-posted speed limit will be lowered to 25 mph.  (This new un-posted limit, of course, does not apply to NYC highways which have a default speed of 50 mph).

The lower speed limit is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign to make the streets safer, and is expected to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.  Meanwhile, motorists can expect routine enforcement of the new limit resulting in numerous speeding tickets.  Speeding tickets are nettlesome because they can adversely affect your insurance rates, lead to a Driver Assessment Responsibility Fee and even suspension.

Given the new law, we thought it would be helpful to provide a chart of how points are assessed for speeding violations:

1-10 mph over: 3 points
11-20 mph over: 4 points
21-30 mph over: 6 points
31-40 mph over*: 8 points
41+ mph over*: 11 points

With the new law taking affect shortly, it is a good time to remember to be vigilant in monitoring your speed, the signage and road conditions.  Drive safe!!

 

Nassau County Speed Camera Locations Revealed

Posted by Matthew Weiss on September 04, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips

Nassau County recently launched its speed cameras program.  In total, 56 speed cameras will be installed by October, one in each of Nassau’s school districts.  Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano predicts that the cameras will generate an estimated $25+ million each year.

By law, the cameras can only operate during public school hours between 6:00 am and 7:00 pm.  Each violation of 10 mph or more over the posted speed limit will carry a $50 fine, and there will be a $25 penalty for failure to pay (meaning a grace is given to speeders between 1 and 9 mph over the limit).

Below is a list of 33 of the 56 speed camera locations in Nassau County:

  1. St. Christopher School 15 Pershing Blvd., Baldwin
  2. Merrick Avenue Middle School 1870 Merrick Ave., Merrick
  3. Charles Campagne School 651Plainview Rd., Bethpage
  4. East Meadow High School 101 Carman Ave., East Meadow
  5. Dutch Broadway School 1880 Dutch Broadway, Elmont
  6. John Street Elementary School 560 Nassau Blvd., Franklin Square
  7. Woodmere Middle School 1170 Peninsula Blvd., Hewlett
  8. Our Lady of Mercy School 520 South Oyster Bay Rd., Hicksville
  9. Island Trees Middle School 45 Wantagh Ave. S., Levittown
  10. Cantiague Elementary School 678 Cantiague Rock Rd., Jericho
  11. Gen. Douglas Macarthur High School 3369 Old Jerusalem Rd., Levittown
  12. Lido Elementary School 237 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach
  13. Shelter Rock Elementary School 27 Shelter Rock Rd., North Hills
  14. Unqua Elementary School 350 Unqua Rd., East Massapequa
  15. Chatterton School 108 Merrick Ave., Merrick
  16. New Hyde Park Road School 300 New Hyde Park Rd., New Hyde Park
  17. Camp Avenue School 1712 Merrick Ave., North Merrick
  18. Schwarting Elementary School 1 Flower Rd., North Massapequa
  19. Parkway School 300 Manetto Hill Rd., Plainview
  20. Centrennial Avenue School 140 West Centennial Ace., Roosevelt
  21. Harbor Hill School 3 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale
  22. Seaford High School 1575 Seamans Neck Rd., Seaford
  23. Baylis Elementary School 580 Woodbury Rd., Plainview
  24. West Hempstead High School 400 Nassau Blvd., West Hempstead
  25. St. Brigid/Our Lady of Hope School 101 Maple Ave., Westbury
  26. Garden City High School 170 Rockaway Ave., Garden City
  27. William A. Shine Great Neck South High School 341 Lakeville Rd., Great Neck
  28. Lynbrook Noth Middle School 529 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook
  29. Malverne Sr. High School 75 Ocean Ave., Malverne
  30. Newbridge Road School 1601 Newbridge., Bellmore
  31. St. Peter of Alcantara School 1327 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington
  32. Turtle Hook Middle School 975 Jerusalem Ave., Uniondale
  33. North Shore Middle School 505 Glen Cove Ave., Glenwood Landing

New York’s Red Light Camera Fines Among The Lowest In Country

Posted by Matthew Weiss on August 20, 2014  /   Posted in Parking Tickets

While no one likes receiving a red light camera ticket, there is one good thing about them.  In New York, they carry one of the lowest fines in the county … $50.00.  Compare this figure to other states in the chart below.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 9.09.01 AM

 

The other goods news is that they carry 0 points and do not affect your insurance rates.

With that said, disobeying a red light is a very dangerous violation.  Motorists depend on other drivers to obey lights so that they can enter intersections without fear of being T-boned.  So whenever you approaching a changing light, err on the side of caution for everyone’s sake.

Can An Out-Of-State Driver Take New York’s Driver Safety Class?

Posted by Matthew Weiss on August 06, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 11.30.51 PMWe recently had a Florida resident that completed the New York defensive driving course.  He had a point problem in New York and, therefore, wanted to ensure that he received the appropriate credit for the class (i.e., that he received 4 points off his NY record).

Our law office contacted the course provider who advised it will notify DMV only if the person has a New York Motorist ID number.  The trick is that, for an out-of-state motorist to have a New York Motorist ID number, he or she must first be convicted of, at least, one moving violation.  Upon conviction to a first offense, NY’s DMV then assigns the number.  Once a number is assigned/obtained, then you need to contact the course provider and provide that number.  The provider, in turn, can then make sure NY DMV afford the appropriate credit to the out-of-state driver.

If you have a  difficult DMV question, feel free to contact us or post it on this blog.  Since 1991, we have handled thousands of vehicle and traffic law cases and have encountered all types of unique situations.

Nassau County Launches Speed Camera Program

Posted by Matthew Weiss on July 29, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 8.55.37 PMLast week, Nassau County started installing speed cameras within local school zones.  The first three schools to receive these devices are Plainedge Middle School in Bethpage, Dutch Lane Elementary in Hicksville and Abbey Lane School in Levittown.  All three schools (which are open for summer school), each received a “mobile unit” — an unmarked van equipped with two cameras and a radar machine.

In total, 56 speed cameras will be installed by October, one in each of Nassau’s school districts.  Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano predicts that the cameras will generate an estimated $25+ million each year.

By law, the cameras can only operate during public school hours (plus an hour before and after school) along with a half-hour before, during and after school events.  Each violation of 10 mph or more over the posted speed limit will carry a $50 fine, and there will be a $25 penalty for failure to pay (meaning a grace is given to speeders between 1 and 9 mph over the limit).

But that is not the only bad news.  Suffolk County will be installing 69 speed cameras near some of its grade schools in 2015.

Update:  Nassau County is forgiving $2.4 million in speed camera fines issued in July/August 2014. County Executive Edward Mangano says there were problems with the cameras installed at six school locations.  He told Newsday that five cameras issued tickets on days when school was not in session. Cameras at a sixth location began operating prematurely.  

(Traffic) Trial By Combat

Posted by Matthew Weiss on May 28, 2014  /   Posted in Bizarre & Funny Traffic Items

Tyrion_Lannister_in_the_ValeI’m a big Games of Thrones fan and am excited to see how Tyrion’s “trial by combat” works out this week.   I therefore could not resist sharing one motorist’s attempt to resolve his case using this ancient Medieval procedure.

Read More

NYC Traffic Judge Caught Speeding 70/40 In A Construction Zone

Posted by Matthew Weiss on May 16, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.14.06 AMSilive.com reports today that notorious Staten Island traffic judge Brian Levine was clocked on radar going 70/40 in a construction zone.  Levine is the most pro-Police judge in the Traffic Violations Bureau system regularly holding the highest conviction and suspension rates.  Levine was even ordered to take anger management sessions after inappropriate conduct vis-a-vis a motorist over which he was presiding.

At our law firm, we often urge prospective clients to refrain from hiring us for Staten Island TVB cases because it is nearly impossible to win there.  Because Levine raises so much money for DMV through hefty fines, we doubt that this incident will lead to any drastic changes.

Some Motorists Can Be Revoked For Just One 5+ Point Ticket?!?

Posted by Matthew Weiss on April 16, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 8.41.47 AMIn the on-going battle to punish and deter driving while under the influence, the DMV adopted regulations that trigger a revocation of a driving license upon conviction to just one 5+ point ticket.

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Do Cell Phone Laws Work?

Posted by Matthew Weiss on April 02, 2014  /   Posted in New York Traffic Lawyer Tips
distracted driving

Using a cellphone while driving

New York leads the way in restricting and punishing drivers who illegally use cell phones.  Indeed, it is a 5-point ticket in New York which is the same number of point assigned to the criminal charge of reckless driving.   But do such laws work?

A NY Times article entitled “Cellphone Bans May Not Prevent Accidents” explores a recent study done by an economics graduate student from Texas A&M that concludes that such laws have little effect on accident rates.  The study concedes that many drivers change their cellphone use when laws prohibiting using them while driving are enacted.  However, it further states that this change in behavior does not necessarily translate into a reduction in accident rates.  The study attempts to explain this ostensible anomaly by suggesting that some drivers who refuse to obey cell phone laws may be even more distracted because they use their phone while also trying to conceal its use.  Alternatively, it suggests that some drivers illegally using cellphones may drive slower, thereby reducing the chance of an accident.

In my opinion, the study’s conclusion is flawed.  Reducing the dangerous activity of distracted driving necessarily must reduce accidents.   By definition, drivers who are not using a cell phone are safer than not, and (as the study admits) many people will follow the law.  Perhaps, the study relied on faulty data regarding the extent of the problem.   Or perhaps the study failed to analyze the precise causes of the included accidents.  In any event, I am entirely skeptical of this study and, for the safety of us all, strongly believe that cell phone laws are necessary and beneficial.

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