Driving is a privilege, and with this privilege comes the responsibility to drive in a safe and legal manner. In the state of New York, drivers are subject to laws regarding how and when they can change lanes while driving, and these laws are strict. Violation of these laws can lead to serious consequences, and repeat offenders run the risk of losing their license altogether.
What is an Unsafe Lane Change?
In New York, Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1128 outlines the law regarding safe driving on roads with multiple lanes. In short, the law states the following:
- You cannot change lanes until you have checked and are certain it is safe
- The left lane is reserved for passing slower drivers and making left turns
- Vehicles of a certain size and/or speed, such as commercial trucks, might be required to drive in specific lanes
- Double-yellow lines and other markings showing that it is unsafe to pass cannot be violated
Receiving a ticket for an unsafe lane change can be avoided if you follow these steps every time you change lanes while driving:
- Use your turn signal
- Check all your mirrors to ensure the lane you plan to move into is clear
- Check your blind spot
- Enter the desired lane slowly and safely
Consequences of an Unsafe Lane Change in New York
The potential consequences of an unsafe lane change vary depending on if it’s your first offense or if your lane change resulted in an accident. Generally, a driver convicted of an unsafe lane changed can expect to receive one or more of the following consequences:
- A Fine: You can receive a fine for up to $150 for your first unsafe lane change. If you receive another within 18 months, the fine will be increased to $300. If you commit a third violation within 18 months of the second, your fine can be increased to $450.
- Points: If you are convicted of an unsafe lane change in New York, you will receive 3 points on your license. Points are a part of the Driver Violation Point System, which gives the state a way to keep track of and act against dangerous drivers.
- Surcharge: You will be required to pay a surcharge of up to $93 for processing and other administrative tasks in addition to the fine you will receive for an unsafe lane change conviction.
- Insurance penalties: Almost all insurance companies will increase your premium when you are convicted of a traffic ticket. You could receive an increase on your rate worth 20%.
- Driver Reasonability Assessment fee: If you receive 6 or more points on your license in 18 months, you can be subject to the Driver Reasonability Assessment fee. The fee is $300 and goes up by $75 for each point you receive over 6.
From the first time I spoke with him he walked me through the whole process from A to Z. He was able to get all 3 of my tickets dismissed with NO points and NO fines.Evan C.
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