While certain traffic violations can be straightforward — such as speeding and illegally texting while driving — there are others that can be confusing. Such is the case with New York’s failure to yield statutes. There are various ways in which a motorist can fail to yield and this article will cover the most common.
Did you receive a failure to yield ticket in NYC? At Weiss & Associates, PC, we have extensive experience fighting thousands of traffic tickets in New York City and throughout New York state; and we have a skilled team of lawyers who are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!
Failing To Yield at a Stop Sign or Yield Sign
Section 1172 of the VTL states that, except when directed otherwise by a police officer, every driver approaching a stop sign must completely stop at the clearly marked stop line. Similarly, if safety requires, then drivers must likewise stop at a yield sign. If there is no crosswalk, you are still required to stop before entering the crosswalk on your near side of the intersection. If there is no crosswalk, you are still required by law to stop at the point nearest the intersection where you have a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting road. Further, whenever a vehicle is stopped at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the street, drivers of other vehicles are not permitted to overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
However, stopping at a stop sign or yield sign does not give you the right of way to automatically proceed. You can only then proceed to drive through the intersection when it is deemed safe to do so. Specifically, Section 1142 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) first re-establishes that, unless directed otherwise by a police officer, every driver who is entering an intersection must stop whenever there is a stop sign or, if safety requires, a yield sign. But that is not all. Once stopped, drivers are required to yield the right of way to any vehicle which has already entered the intersection.
In the event of an accident where a driver either hits a pedestrian or crashes into a vehicle that was already in the intersection, the police will often investigate whether the person crashing into the pedestrian or other car failed to yield the right of way.
What Happens if Two Vehicles Enter the Intersection at the Same Time?
If two vehicles coming from different roadways at the same time (or approximately at the same time), the driver on the right has the right of way, pursuant to VTL Section 1140. Similarly, when two oncoming vehicles enter at or about the same time, the vehicle turning left must always yield the right to the one which is continuing straight under Section 1141.
Responsibilities for Pedestrians in New York
Section 1151 of the VTL establishes that when traffic control signals are not in place (or in working order), drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians. This includes slowing down and stopping, as necessary. Get too close to a pedestrian (even without hitting one), and a police officer may very well issue you a failing to yield the right of way ticket.
But pedestrians also have responsibilities required by New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Code. Section 1151 states the following:
- If there is a pedestrian tunnel or overpass, pedestrians who still wish to cross the street must yield the right of way to all vehicles.
- Pedestrians cannot suddenly leave a curb, sidewalk, or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close, that it would be impractical for the driver to yield.
Despite the pedestrian rules, drivers must be extremely careful when they see and are near pedestrians. You never want to hurt anyone, period!
Traffic Ticket in New York for Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian
As usual, the penalties for failing to yield in New York depend on the circumstances and are within the judge’s discretion.
For a first offense
Failure to yield tickets for a first-time offender can range from only a warning to $150. However, if you fail to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle, the ticket could increase to up to $275.
For a second offense
The costs of a fine for failing to yield for a second time can increase up to $300, plus any applicable mandatory surcharges.
For a third offense
The costs of a fine for failing to yield for a third time can increase up to $400, plus any applicable mandatory surcharges.
Keep in mind that you will also face points being assessed against your driver’s record and a possible increase in your car insurance premium. Failing to yield the right of way tickets carries 3 points.
Instances Where You Could Be Liable for Failure to Yield
Something else that is important to realize is that there are many scenarios that could result in a failure to yield ticket, other than simply not stopping at an intersection. These include those listed in Title VII, Article 26 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law Code, such as:
- Approaching an intersection
- Turning left
- Entering a stop or yield intersection
- Entering a roadway
- Approaching an emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights
- Approaching a parked, stopped, or standing authorized emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle
- Entering or leaving a rotary traffic circle
- Approaching a bike/pedestrian or animal
- Approaching horses
Tickets in Addition to Failure to Yield
Often, a driver who is ticketed for failing to yield is simultaneously ticketed for at least one other motor vehicle infraction. Some of the most common companion violations are:
- Improper turn
- Failing to signal
- Reckless driving
- Improper passing
- Unsafe lane change
As a driver in New York, it is critical to understand who has the right of way and who must yield in different scenarios to maintain the safe flow of traffic. Failing to properly yield the right of way may result in accidents, harm or even death to pedestrians and other motorists.
Points Against Driving Record for Failure to Yield in New York
Receiving a ticket for failing to yield the right of way in New York carries 3 points and a fine. A companion moving violation ticket can be two, three, or more points. If you accumulate 6 or more points within an 18-month period you will be required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee and, if you accumulate 11 or more points within 18 months, you could face a driver’s license suspension.
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) explains:
“If you receive 6 points on your driver record for violations committed during a period of 18 months, the annual assessment is $100. The minimum amount that you must pay each year is the annual assessment. The total assessment for the three years is $300.
If you receive more than 6 points on your driver record during a period of 18 months, the annual assessment is $25 for each point in addition to the original six points. The minimum amount that you must pay each year is the annual assessment. The total assessment for the three years is $75 for each point in addition to the original 6 points.”
Further, those convicted of failing to yield the right of way must pay a fine and surcharge. First-time offenders are required to pay a fine of roughly $150; two offenses for failing to yield in an eighteen month period results in around a $300 fine. If a driver is charged with this violation a third time within eighteen months, the fine can be as high as $750.
The legal consequences are not the only problems that may arise as a result of a driver failing to yield. The laws are in place to protect drivers and pedestrians, and failing to abide by the established rules and regulations can result in injury or death.
For your own safety, the safety of all concerned, it is absolutely imperative to understand and follow the rules of the road in regards to yielding the right of way.
What’s the Difference Between Failure To Yield and Failure to Yield the Right of Way?
They are the same thing. The New York City Administrative Code, Section 19-190 makes it a violation to fail to yield the right of way to a person crossing the street or riding a bicycle. The punishment for such a violation is a fine of up to $50 and up to 15 days in jail. It is also possible to be required to pay both the fine and serve time. The good news is that a NYC administrative code violation does not carry points (as opposed to a NYS or NYC moving violation which carries 3 points for the same violation).
While this may seem like a relatively tame consequence, if the driver who failed to yield the right of way causes a pedestrian or cyclist to become injured or die, the violation then becomes a crime. And if you get an OATH ticket, a conviction could be later used against you in a criminal trial.
It is important to keep in mind that a court will look at all relevant factors. A driver will not be considered to have commited a failure to yield the right of way violation if the injuries were not caused by the driver’s failure to exercise due care. Pedestrians and cyclists are still required to comply with their own responsibilities, as stated above.
In addition, the NYC Administrative Code makes an exception for motor vehicles and employees working on behalf of the City of New York, the State of New York, or the federal government. If they are conducting such work, and doing so interferes with the right of way of pedestrians or cyclists, they may continue to do their jobs as long as they are exercising due care to ensure the safety of everyone around them.
Is It Worth Hiring a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney?
Yes. You should always consult with an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Failing to yield the right of way could result in a hearing being conducted in different venues. Depending on where you were pulled over (or the entity issuing the ticket), this could be at a county courthouse, at the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) or at New York’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH).
While the penalties are always the same, the procedures may vary from venue to venue. This is important because some of them (for example, the TVB), have different evidentiary rules that make it easier to get convicted. So no matter your circumstances, we recommend that you have legal counsel on your side, watching out for your best interests.
Even if you think it may be an uphill battle, a lawyer will look at all angles of your case to determine whether there are any ways to either get your ticket reduced or dismissed. The consultation should be free.
They will know which questions to ask, and they protect your rights when you are being interrogated at your hearing. In fact, you may not even have to go to your hearing at all if a lawyer is representing you.
Defending Against an NYC Failure To Yield Ticket
Many New Yorkers are under the impression that if you receive a traffic ticket, you have to pay the fines and fees without being able to fight the alleged violation. This assumption is incorrect. With a reliable attorney knowledgeable in New York’s traffic laws and codes, it is possible to defend yourself from the consequences of a failure to yield the right of way moving violation.
The most important step in defending yourself against a ticket for failing to yield is to not admit guilt until you have consulted with the proper legal counsel. If you plead guilty from the get-go, it is near impossible for even the best lawyer to save you from the ticket. Luckily, there are several defenses that a properly-trained and well-educated attorney may be able to use to fight a ticket for failing to yield, such as:
- Showing that you did not, in fact, fail to yield the right of way
- Showing that you actually had the right of way
- Arguing that your actions were necessary to prevent an accident
- Proving that the pedestrian unexpectedly ran in front of your car
While you may be able to develop and use a winning defense in a New York court, it is highly recommended that you, at least, consult with (if not hire) an experienced traffic lawyer.
How Can Weiss and Associates, PC Help?
Since 1991, Weiss & Associates, PC have made fighting your traffic ticket as easy as possible. You do not have to appear in court, for instance We offer an initial free consultation, flat fees, and experienced traffic lawyers who will vigorously defend you.
We have extensive experience fighting thousands of traffic tickets in New York City and throughout New York state; and we have a skilled team of lawyers who are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!