Failing to yield the right of way carries 3 points and roughly a $150 failure to yield ticket cost. There are multiple ways to fail to yield the right of way and, therefore, it is not uncommon for police officers to issue them under the wrong section of law. If so, this often provides a strong grounds for dismissal.
The most commonly issued such ticket is failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Driving close to a pedestrian who is walking in the street is enough to be given a ticket. The precise standard is failure to use due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. Vehicle And Traffic Law Section 1146.
For Failure to Yield in NYC, New York City has a similarly worded traffic regulation under Section 4-04(d) but also has Section 4-04(b)(1) for situations where there are no traffic control or pedestrian control signals (or inoperable ones) which states: “*** the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the path of the vehicle or is approaching so closely thereto as to be in danger.”
The next type of failure to yield involves stopped and moving emergency vehicles. The first type (and second most common overall) is failure to “move over” for stopped emergency vehicles. New York’s move over law is relatively new and requires motorists to move over (or at the very least slow down) when approaching vehicles displaying red, blue, amber and/or white lights (ex. police cars, ambulances, tow trucks, snow plows and other vehicles performing road maintenance, construction or repair). We see many of these types of tickets being issued under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1144-a.
The second type of failure to yield to emergency vehicle law involves moving emergency vehicles and is governed by Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1144. It states that a motorist shall move over to the right and stop when a vehicle displaying an illuminated red light(s) and sounding audible signals is approaching it from the rear. The keys here is that one cannot violate this statute if the emergency vehicle is not coming from behind you (although prudence and safety dictate that you yield anytime you see flashing red lights or hear a siren).
The next types of failure to yield the right of way involve intersections. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1140(a) states that a driver approaching an intersection shall yield to another vehicle that is already in that intersection and Section 1140(b) states that, when two vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, the driver to the left should yield the right of way.
The next type of intersection right-of-way law involves left-hand turns and requires a motorist turning left to yield to the right of way to on-coming traffic. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1141. Similarly, under Section 1142(a), a motorist with a stop sign must stop and, then, yield to other vehicles already on the roadway or near approaching. And, of course, a motorist with a yield sign must slow down or stop in deference to other motorists and pedestrians. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1142(b).
Finally, a motorist entering or crossing a roadway from a driveway, alley or any other entry other than a roadway, shall yield the right of way to other vehicles already on that roadway. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1143.
As you see, the many varieties of this type of violation make it ripe for error. If you are issued such a ticket, you should look up the particular section of law under which you are charged to make sure it is correct.