Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in New York

Learn about New York’s red light and stop sign laws and the consequences of a violation.

A New York driver who runs a stop sign or red light will likely have to pay a fine. A red light or stop sign violation will also add demerit points to a motorist's driving record. (A driver might have other options for dealing with a ticket, including fighting the charge in traffic court.) This article gives an overview of what the law requires and prohibits and some of the consequences of being convicted of a stop sign or red light violation.

Properly Stopping at a Red Light or Stop Sign in NY

When approaching a stop sign or red light (solid or flashing), a motorist must come to a complete stop before the nearest of entering the crosswalk at the closest side of the intersection, reaching a marked stop line, or entering the intersection itself.

New York's Right-On-Red Rule

In New York City—and, generally, in other cities with a population of at least one million—motorists aren't allowed to make a right turn at a red light unless a sign specifically says it's okay.

However, in cities of less than a million within the state, motorists can make a right turn at a red signal after coming to a complete stop and yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians and other vehicles lawfully using the intersection.

Left-on-Red Rule in NY

In cities, including New York City, with populations of a million or more, a left on red is prohibited unless a sign is posted indicating the turn is allowed. In other cities, motorists can make a left turn after stopping at a red light only from a one-way street onto another one-way street, provided there's no sign prohibiting such a turn. Of course, motorists have to follow right-of-way rules and proceed with caution when making the turn.

Can You Get a Ticket in New York for Running a Yellow Light?

Some states require drivers to stop at yellow lights unless it's unsafe to do so. In New York, however, a steady yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, so long as you enter the intersection before the signal turns red, you haven't violated the law.

Red Light Cameras in New York

A number of jurisdictions within New York State use automated cameras at intersections to catch red-light violators. Generally, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying a red light camera ticket unless the operator did not have the owner's permission to use the vehicle.

The maximum fine for a red light camera ticket is $50, and the conviction won't go on the driver's record or affect insurance premiums.

Costs and Points for Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in New York

The fines for red light and stop sign violations depend on a number of factors, including where the violation occurred. But, generally, a convicted motorist is looking at $50 to $300 in fines.

A stop sign or red light conviction will put three demerit points on a motorist's driving record. Drivers who accumulate 11 or more points within an 18-month period face license suspension. However, motorists can get a four-point reduction by completing a "point and insurance reduction program" (PIRP) course.

And depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could lead to a reckless driving conviction.

Fighting a Red Light or Stop Sign Ticket in NY

Depending on your situation, it might make sense to fight a stop sign or red light ticket. But fighting a ticket in traffic court is sometimes easier said than done. So it's a good idea to at least talk to an attorney before deciding to represent yourself in court.

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