New York Red Light Laws: Get to Know Traffic Rules in Your State

A warm, sunlit morning in the heart of New York. You’re behind the wheel, humming to your favorite song, heading to your destination when suddenly, a red light stops you. But what does that red light truly mean in the context of New York red light laws?

Understanding New York Red Light Laws

In New York, like other states, the red light is a direct command for drivers to come to a complete stop.

According to the Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1111(d)(1), a motorist approaching a steady circular red signal is obligated to stop at a clearly marked stop line. If no line exists, then before entering the crosswalk, or if no crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. Violation of this law may result in penalties and even points on your driving record (New York DMV, 2020).

While many states allow turning right on red, in New York City, making a right turn on a red light is illegal unless a sign indicates otherwise. However, outside of the city, turning right on red is permissible after a complete stop and ensuring the way is clear and safe.

Some intersections in New York have automated red-light cameras. These cameras capture images of vehicles that enter the intersection during a red light. If captured, a Notice of Liability (NOL) is sent to the vehicle’s registered owner (New York City DOT, 2021).

Here are some tips for avoiding red light tickets in New York:

  • Always come to a complete stop at a red light.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and look for other vehicles that may be running the light.
  • Don’t be distracted by your phone or other electronic devices.
  • If you are unsure whether it is safe to proceed through a red light, wait until the light turns green

The Real-World Consequences

If you are caught running a red light, you could face a number of penalties, including:

  • A fine of up to $150
  • Surcharges of $80-$85
  • Points on your driver’s license
  • Up to 15 days in jail

In addition to the legal penalties, running a red light can also lead to a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), red light running is a factor in about 800,000 car accidents each year, resulting in an average of 900 deaths.

What You Should Do

If you are caught running a red light in New York, you should:

  • Pull over to the side of the road and wait for the police officer to approach you.
  • Be polite and cooperative with the police officer.
  • Contact an attorney to discuss your case.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a red light runner, you should:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Get the names and contact information of the other driver involved in the accident.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene.
  • File a report.
  • Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Why Knowledge of Red Light Laws Matters

Knowledge translates to prevention. Here are some of the reasons why knowledge of red light laws matters:

  • It can help you to avoid accidents. When you know the rules, you are less likely to make a mistake that could lead to an accident.
  • It can help you to protect yourself and others. By following the rules, you can help to prevent accidents that could injure or kill you, your passengers, or other road users.
  • It can help you to avoid penalties. If you are caught running a red light, you could face a fine, points on your driver’s license, or even jail time.
  • It can help you to get justice if you are injured in an accident. If you are injured in an accident caused by a red light runner, you will need to know the laws in order to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

Contact Us Today!

New York’s roads demands respect for its traffic laws, and understanding the red light laws is fundamental to that. While the mechanics of stopping at a red might seem elementary, the intricacies and implications of these laws are profound. No one wishes to be involved in an accident, but when uncertainties strike, it’s vital to have someone you can trust.

If you need assistance in car accidents in White Plains or Westchester, remember that Glen A. Kurtis, P.C. is here to support and guide you. Don’t wait for the unforeseen. Get informed, stay safe, and always have a plan in place.

Your safety and peace of mind are just a call away. Contact us today!