In the state of New York, a driver is required to signal before making a turn. Any time you turn or change lanes on the roadway, you must use your turn signals (electronic or hand) and wait until it is safe before turning. The law applies whenever you turn or change lanes on the roadway. It also applies if you are turning across traffic into a driveway and not just at an intersection. Nonetheless, sadly, many motorists view signaling as an optional activity.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles lists several situations in which a driver is required by law to signal, which can often confuse some drivers.
If you have been issued a failure to signal ticket and feel you acted within the law, Weiss & Associates, PC, can help you fight it. We can present your side of the case and get the ticket overturned. If you received a failure to signal ticket in New York, call us at 212-683-7373 or get in touch for a free case consultation.
What is New York’s Law on Failing to Signal?
Article 28 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law contains various sections governing turning and using signals in multiple situations. Specifically, VTL 1163(a) and 1163(b) explain improper or unsafe turns or lane changes without using a signal.
Drivers should signal at least 100 feet before turning or changing lanes. The New York State Department of Motor vehicles lists several situations in which a driver must signal:
- When you are at an intersection and intend to turn left or U-turn
- When you are at an intersection and intend to turn right or change lanes
- When you are turning right
- When parking on the side of a road where there are no meters or posted signs prohibiting parking
- When you are entering a traffic circle or roundabout
- When you are parked and intend to turn left to re-enter traffic
Whenever you change lanes or make a turn, use your turn signal continuously. This includes lane changes or turns when no one else is seemingly around. Signaling is important for safety and legality. If you signal, it is easier for others to anticipate what you will be doing. Signaling also helps pedestrians.
Common Defenses for a Failing to Signal Ticket
A person is not required to plead guilty to any traffic violation. If you fight your failing-to-signal ticket, here are some common defenses that you or an experienced traffic attorney might look into advancing:
- Proving inconsistencies between what is written on the ticket and what the officer is saying
- I did signal (electronic or hand)
- The officer failed to check my signal mechanism to ensure it was properly working
Most of the time, attorneys negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a lesser offense. However, in New York City, they do not negotiate in traffic court so your failure to signal case will be decided at a hearing (if you plead not guilty). Although failure to signal tickets carries only 2 points, they still affect your driving record.
What Happens If My Failing to Signal Resulted in an Accident?
A simple failure to signal ticket can turn serious when an accident occurs. In this case, not signaling can be considered an act of negligence. A conviction for this offense can be used as evidence of negligence in a related civil action. We, therefore, strongly recommend fighting a failure to signal ticket when there is an accident involving personal injury or property damage.
Penalties For Failing to Signal in New York
Penalties for failing to signal can be:
- Fines: A driver who fails to use his or her signal lights can be fined up to $150 for a first offense. If the same violation is committed within 18 months, the fine can rise to $300. For a third violation within 18 months, the fine can reach $450.
- Driver’s License Points: In New York State, failing to signal a turn or lane change is a 2-point offense. Subsequent offenses within 18 months will also carry 2 points.
- Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) Fee: Drivers who accrue 6 or more points on their license must pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee. These fees are separate from fines and surcharges, and the state Department of Motor Vehicles determines the amount. Fees are $300 for the first 6 points and $75 for each point beyond 6.
- Insurance Policy Increase: Insurance companies can raise your rates if you are convicted of two (or more) “small” tickets within 36 months (or one “large” ticket within 36 months). Failure to signal is considered a small ticket so a conviction for this offense alone cannot result in your rates going up. However, if you have or get a second moving violation conviction within this time period, then your rates can go up.
How a New York State Traffic Ticket Attorney Might Be Able to Help
A traffic attorney who understands traffic laws can pursue different avenues to help you get the ticket dismissed or reduced.
This is particularly important if the failure to signal violation involved an accident or you have other convictions on your record (or other open moving violation tickets). Working with an experienced New York attorney is helpful and helps you maximize your chances for a successful outcome.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a failure to turn traffic violation, contact Weiss & Associates, PC, today. Our traffic defense attorneys have helped thousands of drivers get traffic tickets dismissed and avoid personal injury lawsuits in traffic accidents. Call 212-683-7373 or get in touch with us for a free case consultation.