Top 5 Ways You’ll Get A Traffic Ticket In New York City [According To A New York City Police Officer]

I spoke recently with an old friend from high school who became a New York City Police Officer and I asked him for the offenses most likely to get you a traffic ticket in New York City. Here’s what he had to say:

5. Double Parking
We’re starting with the most obvious and yes really, many people need to be warned that double parking is a stupid thing to do…because apparently they continue to do it anyway. Aside from the fact it’s kind of a jerk tactic, blocking someone else in so they can’t get out, it’s also $115 fine if you get caught. NYC.gov reminds you “Double parking any type of vehicle is not allowed in Midtown Manhattan (the area from 14th Street to 60th Street, between First Avenue and Eighth Avenue inclusive). Midtown double parking is not allowed between 7:00am – 7:00pm daily except Sundays.” For passenger cars, the basic rule is you can never double park [brief unloading of passengers aside] and commercial vehicles may only do so in the course of loading/unloading and making deliveries if there is no available parking or unloading zones within 100 feet of either side of the street.

4. No Right Turn on Red
In most places, you can pull up to a red light at an intersection, stop, and if it’s safe, you can make a right turn. New York City is not most places. In fact, you can never ever make a right turn on a red light unless a sign permits this. An illegal right on red is effectively running a red light. This is a major 3 point violation. Fine amounts can vary greatly depending on if the offense occurs in a city with a population under or over a million people but expect a range of $250 to $450 as a result.

3. Blocking the Box
Gridlock is never fun and New York at rush hour is pure gridlock. “Don’t Block The Box” has been a major slogan of New York City regarding blocking intersections on city streets ever since the 1980s. Before proceeding onward with a green light, always be sure you have enough room in front of you to clear the intersection and crosswalk ahead. If you don’t have room, wait until you do. If the light turns red, wait until it turns green again before entering the intersection. Nothing is more stressful than being stuck in the intersection as cars on opposite sides of you blow their horns at you for blocking them. “Blocking the box” while no longer considered a moving violation which carries points on your record is now reclassified a parking violation which still has a fine of $115.

2. Speeding [The Speed Limit in New York City is 25 MPH]
This one’s easy: don’t drive over 25. The speed limit was lowered from 30 to 25 MPH back in late 2014 as part of NYC Mayor DiBlasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to prevent traffic related fatalities. The 25 MPH limit applies to all streets where no other sign is posted. Highways such as the FDR, West Side Highway and Riverside Drive will still have higher limits and school zones will have lower limits. Mind your signs and if there are no signs, remember, 25’s the law.

1. Failure to Yield to Pedestrians
Yielding the right-of-way is about safety and when it’s at a crosswalk, it’s absolutely essentially. New York City leads the nation in traffic fatalities involving a pedestrian, at just over 30%, it makes it the most dangerous place in the country to try to cross the street. This is a 3 point violation and carries a $150 fine. It is absolutely at the top of NYPD’s list of traffic violations to look out for, especially given the previously mentioned “Vision Zero” campaign and the serious concerns about traffic fatalities. Don’t just push or roll through a crosswalk and always allow a pedestrian the right-of-way.

If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket that’s put points on your record, check out Improv’s New York Defensive Driver Course:

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