Author Archives: Michael Block

We Stand with Gay Americans

The Law Office of Michael Block stands with Gay Americans.

Check out the full article below:

Some of June’s gay pride celebrations happened last weekend, but many are still ahead. The one in Louisville, Ky., is among them. There’s a parade scheduled for Friday.

That’s your state, Mitch McConnell. You should go.

If you’re not comfortable marching, mingle on the sidelines. If parades aren’t your thing, make an appearance at one of the other pride events in Kentucky in coming days.

Just show up. And by doing so, show that the absence of “gay” or “L.G.B.T.” in your statements immediately following the Orlando massacre — and in the statements of so many other prominent Republicans — isn’t because you place us and our concerns behind some thick pane of glass with a Do Not Touch sign that stays up even when blood and tears pool beneath it.

For more than 48 hours, Paul Ryan also seemed to avoid any mention of the kind of nightclub that the Orlando gunman chose and one of the reasons its revelers were marked for death.

On Tuesday morning that silence finally ended, as Ryan told journalists in Washington that he wanted to “be clear.”

“Members of the L.G.B.T. community were the targets,” he said. “They were simply attacked for who they are.”

He thus joined his 2012 running mate, Mitt Romney, who sent out a tweet midday Monday offering “a special prayer for the L.G.B.T. community that was the focus of this attack.”

Ryan also joined Donald Trump, who mentioned L.G.B.T. Americans repeatedly in his formal remarks on Monday afternoon, expressing “solidarity with the members of Orlando’s L.G.B.T. community” and asserting that the gunman wanted “to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation.”

But more conspicuous than what Romney and Trump said was what so many other Republicans didn’t.

Bemoaning the carnage, they justly condemned the Islamic State and violent extremists. They rightly paid tribute to “first responders.”

But this specificity didn’t extend to the lives and loves of the people killed. Even Rick Scott, the Republican governor of Florida, initially sidestepped the subject, failing to emphasize that many of them spent their final terrified minutes in a place where they had sought precisely the comfort and belonging that they didn’t always feel on the other side of its walls.

We still have much to learn about the exact mix of the gunman’s motives. There are reports that he cased other locations. His unhinged diatribesapparently extended to women, blacks and Jews as well as gays.

His past behavior and his call to 911 demonstrated an overarching hatred of America, with its celebration of diversity and individual liberty. The revelers in Pulse epitomized that liberty, and what happened to them is part of a bigger story and a bigger struggle that affect all Americans.

But that doesn’t preclude an acknowledgment of their sexual orientations, and it doesn’t excuse any reluctance to discuss that.

Roman Catholic leaders, too, shied away. Statements by the bishop of Orlando and by the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said nothing about a gay nightclub or gays.

Such omissions so troubled the Rev. James Martin, a best-selling Jesuit author, that he posted a video commentary about them on Facebook on Monday afternoon. Twenty-four hours later, it had been viewed about 700,000 times.

“If the murders had happened, God forbid, in a church of a particular Christian denomination, Catholic leaders would decry the murders and then naturally express their solidarity with members of that denomination,” he said in the video, adding that for the most part, “this was not done for the grieving L.G.B.T. community.”

He told me on Tuesday that there were exceptions, including Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., who wrote a blog post in which he conceded that religion, including Catholicism, “often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,” and that this contempt can lead to violence. Lynch stressed that the Orlando victims “were all made in the image and likeness of God.”

“We teach that,” Lynch wrote. “We should believe that. We must stand for that.”

“We” includes leaders of both parties. If Ted Cruz can mourn Orlando as an attack on gay people — which, in fact, he did — then every other Republican can, too.

This is one of those moments, in the wake of terror, when we find the most apt and evocative ways to underscore our oneness and renounce our fear. When we make grand gestures. When we make pointed ones.

So Majority Leader McConnell, pick your rally. Speaker Ryan, accompany him. Governor Scott, attend the funerals of gay victims. Other Republicans and Democrats, recognize L.G.B.T. Americans with both your words and your presence at gay pride celebrations.

You want to show our enemies what America stands for? Then stand with us.

How to Save Yourself When Pulled Over for using a Portable Electronic Device

You have just been pulled over by a police officer. You have no idea why. Do not engage the officer in conversation. Do not act angry or surprised. An officer will usually assume that you know the New York Traffic Violation you have committed. Getting visibly upset may only worsen the situation.

The officer hands you a ticket for Improper use of a Portable Electronic Device (texting). According to VTL 1225d  no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such device is in motion. You are shocked and outraged. You were stopped at a red light, so you thought it was okay to touch your phone while the car was stopped. That would be your first mistake. Whether the car is at a complete stop or in motion you are not to touch any electronic devices, especially a cell phone to text. Texting is one of the main causes of car crashes. According to the National Highway Safety Administration operating a motor vehicle while using an electronic device will increase your chances of being in a motor vehicle crash by twenty-three percent, as compared to those drivers who are not. The safest time to use a cell phone would be when the car is off the road and the keys are out of the ignition. In the state of New York you can be pulled over and issued a summons for doing any of the following:

-Talking on a handheld mobile telephone

-Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or    retrieving electronic data such as email, text messages or  web pages

-Viewing, taking or transmitting images ( picture and/or video)

-Playing games on your cell phone

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been pulled over for using an electronic device remember the less you say, the better. Give the officer the documents that have been requested. If you argue the officer will record that in his notebook. His memory of the case will be enhanced when it is heard in court. The line “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” is more than just a saying, it is the truth. The officer may try extra hard to obtain a conviction. If convicted you could lose your driving privileges and there may be an increase in your insurance premiums.

Always stay cool and calm and most importantly give an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney a call immediately. If you receive a summons, contact us at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com. I have been fighting summonses in New York for over 28 years and I can fight for you!

Photo: The Globe and Mail

2 Point Ticket in Forest Hills Reduced to 0 Points!!

We’ve received another 5 star review! Michael Block, Queens Traffic Ticket Attorney was able to get a client’s 2 point Improper Turn ticket reduced to 0 points! The client received this ticket in Forest Hills.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients. If you’ve received a speeding ticket or any other type of moving violation, let us help you! Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

Memorial Day Crackdown yields nearly 12,000 tickets

During the Memorial Day Weekend holiday, police issued over 12,000 tickets! Now more than ever motorists should be extremely mindful of traffic laws.

Read the full article below:

State Police issued nearly 12,000 tickets in a Memorial Day weekend crackdown on drunken driving and other traffic violations, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

More than 600 of those tickets were issued on Long Island, officials said.Troopers increased patrols from Friday through Monday in an effort to curb drunken and distracted driving, speeding and other infractions, the governor’s office said in a June 1 news release.

Cuomo commended the efforts of the troopers and other law enforcement agencies for “their continued vigilance against this reckless behavior and their ongoing efforts to keep New York’s roadways safe.”

The 96-hour enforcement campaign was funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, as State Police also conducted sobriety checkpoints and targeted speeding and aggressive drivers.

Of the 11,946 tickets written, 224 were for drunken driving, Cuomo’s office said.

Troop L, headquartered in Farmingdale, issued 613 tickets during the holiday weekend, including 18 for drunken driving and 131 for speeding.

A breakdown of tickets issued by troop is at on.ny.gov/1XQ8KHl.

County police agencies also cracked down on drunken driving over the holiday weekend.

Fifty drivers in Nassau County were arrested between 7 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Suffolk County police said patrols from 7 p.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. Tuesday resulted in 44 DWI arrests, including a sobriety checkpoint Friday night to Saturday morning in North Patchogue that resulted in a dozen arrests on the north service road of Sunrise Highway.

Photo: Newsday

Speeding Tickets and The Hamptons Don't Mix

Summer vacation/weekend getaway season is finally here! Many New Yorkers will be spending their weekends driving out to the Hamptons for long weekends and quick getaways from the busy City. Drivers should pay attention to all Vehicle and Traffic Laws. We can anticipate that speeding laws will be strictly enforced when heading to the Hamptons and The North Fork of Long Island. Police are aware that motorists are out enjoying themselves and that when on vacation people may forget about the rules of the road. They still apply and you must still obey them! Always be aware and stay informed of the ever-changing speed limits. For example, the Speed limit on Route 114 in Sag Harbor has just been lowered from 40 mph to 35 mph. Changes like this are made frequently. You must always stay informed.

Speed limits and speeding tickets on Long Island can add 3-11 points onto your license. The number of points you receive depends on how much you exceed the speed limit. Take a look at our Violation and Points chart below.

Speed Violation chart

Be aware, the higher the speeding violation, the more points you will receive. An easy way to calculate how many points your ticket is worth is to subtract your travel speed from the posted speed limit. For example, if you are pulled over for going 60 mph in a 40 mph zone, subtract 60 – 40. That leaves you with 20, and puts you in the 4 point ticket category.

If you are unsure of the speed limit or cannot find a posted speed limit sign then reduce your speed! You can look online on at www.ecode360.com to find out the speed limit in each town. Very rarely will an officer accept the excuse of “I’m from out of town” when pulled over for speeding.

In addition to watching your speed, it is imperative that you never drive while intoxicated or even after consuming just one drink, even at your summer rental in the Hamptons. According to the law, buzzed driving is still drunk driving and New York Police are on alert to reduce roadway fatalities caused by impaired driving. This past Memorial Day Weekend, according to Gov. Cuomo, state police issued nearly 12,000 summonses for Speeding, DWI and other moving violations. More than 600 of the summonses were issued on Long Island.

Don’t let speeding tickets ruin your summer fun. Let me fight your speeding tickets for you. If you receive a speeding ticket in East Hampton,West Hampton,South Hampton, Hampton Bays or Bridge Hampton please contact your New York Traffic Ticket Attorney at 212-227-9008 or at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

5 Point Cell Phone Ticket Received in East Harlem Reduced to 0 Points

cellphone ticket may be issued regardless of how the driver was using the device.  The law defines “using” as holding your cellphone while talking, taking pictures, texting, or simply viewing the device.  So if you are viewing the device as a GPS, you are in violation.

In addition, cellphone tickets rack up as much as 5 points.  Extra points on your license can increase the price of your insurance.  3 cellphone tickets could result in the suspension of your license.

The cost of cellphone tickets can range between $50 to $400 depending on the gravity and frequency of the offense. Aside from the immediate cost of the ticket, points on your license could cause insurance premiums to increase significantly.

When you receive the cellphone ticket, do not discuss it with the police officer.   Anything you say can, and WILL be used against you in court. Officers take notes on any comments you make which can later harm you while disputing your traffic ticket.

A cellphone ticket lawyer is waiting to help you. New York Traffic Violations can be very damaging to your driving record. My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket. Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients. If you’ve received a speeding ticket or any other type of moving violation, let us help you! Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

  1. This is a great article with much useful information. I’d like to share it on my social media but there are no icons to do so.

    Mike Haltman

Two People Die After a Crash on the LIE

Earlier this week two young people were killed on the Long Island Expressway in Old Westbury. They had just been involved in a car crash and were in the HOV lane where they were fatally struck.

Read below for the full article and for tips on how to stay safe if you ever in a similar situation:

Two people were killed and two others injured after the car they were traveling in crashed, then was struck by an SUV as it sat in the HOV lane of the Long Island Expressway during a teeming rainstorm Monday night in Old Westbury, police said.

The crash took place just minutes after the initial accident on the westbound expressway between exits 40 and 39, at about 11 p.m., said Nassau Det. Sgt. James Skopek, of the Nassau Homicide Squad, which investigates traffic fatalities.

Nassau police Tuesday would not identify the SUV driver, who they said was not going to be charged criminally. But law enforcement sources identified him as an off-duty NYPD highway patrol officer. When contacted by phone, he had no comment.

The car that was struck, a BMW, with four young people inside, had crashed into a guardrail, careened across the lanes of traffic, struck the median and came to a stop in the HOV lane, Skopek said.

The four people in the BMW then got out of the car, Skopek said, and then the SUV driver, in a 2016 GMC Yukon, struck the two victims who died and the BMW. The two other victims were hospitalized with minor injuries.

The Yukon driver, 33, had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment, police said.

It was not immediately clear what role the weather might have played in the accidents. The investigation into the cause of both crashes is continuing.

But Skopek described the conditions as “terrible, terrible weather, the rain, limited lighting, very dark in that part of the expressway.”

Skopek said “some of the lights may have not been illuminated. Is that a regular thing or is the weather condition that caused that, I don’t know.”

He added: “It was bad last night. It was nasty.”

Skopek stressed there was no apparent criminality.

“We conferenced this with the district attorney’s office,” said Skopek. “There was a rep from the district attorney’s office there. There is no indication at this time that there was any criminality at all — nothing.”

The BMW driver, a 20-year-old man from Queens, was thrown over the median and was found in the far eastbound side of the expressway and pronounced dead at the scene, Skopek said.

An 18-year-old upstate woman, who was a BMW passenger, was transported to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where police said she was pronounced dead.

The two surviving BMW passengers, an 18-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, Skopek said. One is from Brooklyn and the other is from Queens, he said.

Police said the identities of the victims have been withheld pending notifications of next of kin. The vehicles were impounded for safety checks, police said.

“It’s a tragic, tragic accident for these two young people and our hearts go out to the families,” said Skopek, who asked any witness to the crashes to contact police.

The crash closed the eastbound lanes of the LIE until 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and the westbound lanes until 5:15 a.m.

Skopek advised anyone in an accident to stay inside their vehicle, to try to move to a safe place and put on their hazard lights.

With John Valenti and Anthony M. DeStefano

Safety tips

Here’s what to do if your vehicle becomes disabled in a high-traffic area:

-Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights.

-If possible, safely move your vehicle off the road away from traffic.

-Stay inside your vehicle once it is off the road and make all passengers stay inside, too.    Keep doors locked.

-If you’re unable to get off the roadway, get out of the vehicle and stand in a safe place  about 60 feet away from the rear of it. That way the traffic sees you before they see your  car.

-Don a reflective vest, raise the vehicle’s hood, tie a white cloth to a door handle or use      reflective triangles or flares.

-Set triangles or flares up behind the disabled car to alert approaching motorists.

-New York’s “move over” law requires motorists to move away at least one lane from fire,    road repair and other emergency vehicles when safe.

-The stats: 67 pedestrians were killed on Interstates in New York from 2010 to 2015; about  one-third of those deaths can be attributed to vehicle breakdowns. The equivalent figure    for the nation is 2,449.

Source: AAA New York, New York State law

Should New York State Seat Belt Laws Change?

In New York State there are no laws requiring adults over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt in the backseat. Regardless of your age, wearing a seat belt is vital for safety, even in the seemingly safe backseat. The rate of death from not wearing a seat belt is ridiculously high and especially between the ages of 16-24.

Read the full article below and comment your opinion on the lack of a seat belt law.

Nassau and Suffolk had about one-fifth of all state fatalities in car crashes in one category: backseat passengers 16 or older who had not buckled up, the AAA said Tuesday.

Suffolk had the worst record in the state, with 88 such deaths from 1995 to 2014. Nassau ranked third, with 70 fatalities, just one fewer than in Queens.

In all of New York State, 886 back-seat passengers in this category were killed.

Unlike 28 other states and the District of Columbia, New York does not require anyone older than 16 who is riding in the backseat to belt up, according to the nonprofit’s survey.

“What is particularly shocking to me is that we were the first state with any seat belt law,” said Alec Slatky, policy analyst, AAA Northeast chapter.

Despite heated opposition, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1984 enacted the nation’s first seat belt requirement; only in 2000 was it expanded to include children aged 10 to 16 who sit in the backseats.

Noting deaths jump once teenagers no longer must belt in, Slatky said the AAA supports bills the legislature is considering requiring anyone 16 or older to wear seat belts if they ride in back.

Back-seat passengers from ages 16 to 24 “had by far the lowest rate of belt usage and accounted for more than half of the fatalities,” the survey said.

“This is a major problem … If you look at just Long Island, it’s about 8 adults a year killed in the back seat of a car while not wearing a seat belt,” Slatky said.

Though people sitting in the back might feel they are at less risk of being ejected than those in the front, they are twice as likely to kill front seat passengers — becoming a “bullet” in the AAA’s parlance — than if they were wearing seat belts, it found.

Unbelted back-seat passengers are three times more likely to be killed and eight times more likely to be seriously injured than if they were buckled in.

Pondering why back-seat passengers, especially young adults, are not buckling up, Slatky said:

“I think part of it’s people think they are safer in the back seat; part of it is just bravado.”

And for young adults riding in cars driven by their peers, “the social norms in such a situation may discourage restraint,” the survey said.

These kinds of fatalities rise with the number of people who live in an area and how much driving they do, the survey found.

All of New York City’s five counties had 190 deaths — about twice the number in Suffolk.

Don't Call it an Accident!

Advocates are working to change what we call car collisions. Rather than call them car accidents, they think they should be referred to as car crashes. Especially with distracted driving (due to texting, social media and other variations of cell phone) use being the main cause of many auto- related deaths.

For the full article read below:

Roadway fatalities are soaring at a rate not seen in 50 years, resulting from crashes, collisions and other incidents caused by drivers.

Just don’t call them accidents anymore.

That is the position of a growing number of safety advocates, including grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the country. They are campaigning to change a 100-year-old mentality that they say trivializes the single most common cause of traffic incidents: human error.

“When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’ ” Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at a driver safety conference this month at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“In our society,” he added, “language can be everything.”

Almost all crashes stem from driver behavior like drinking, distracted driving and other risky activity. About 6 percent are caused by vehicle malfunctions, weather and other factors.

Preliminary estimates by the nonprofit National Safety Council show deadly crashes rose by nearly 8 percent in 2015 over the previous year, killing about 38,000 people.

Dr. Rosekind has added his voice to a growing chorus of advocates who say that the persistence of crashes — driving is the most dangerous activity for most people — can be explained in part by widespread apathy toward the issue.

Changing semantics is meant to shake people, particularly policy makers, out of the implicit nobody’s-fault attitude that the word “accident” conveys, they said.

On Jan. 1, the state of Nevada enacted a law, passed almost unanimously in the Legislature, to change “accident” to “crash” in dozens of instances where the word is mentioned in state laws, like those covering police and insurance reports.

New York City adopted a policy in 2014 to reduce fatalities that states the city “must no longer regard traffic crashes as mere ‘accidents,’ ” and other cities, including San Francisco, have taken the same step.

At least 28 state departments of transportation have moved away from the term “accident” when referring to roadway incidents, according to Jeff Larason, director of highway safety for Massachusetts. The traffic safety administration changed its own policy in 1997, but has recently become more vocal about the issue.

Mr. Larason, a former television traffic reporter, started a blog called “Drop The A Word” and has led a campaign to get major media outlets to stop using the term. Last year, he enlisted supporters to join with grass-roots groups in urging The Associated Press to clarify how reporters should use the word “accident.”

In April, The A.P. announced a new policy. When negligence is claimed or proven in a crash, the new entry reads, reporters should “avoid accident, which can be read by some as a term exonerating the person responsible.” (The New York Times’s style guide does not take any position on the terminology.)

But use of “accident” has its defenders, as Mr. Larason discovered in 2014 when he posted his thoughts on the word in a Facebook group popular among traffic reporters.

“Why can’t human error be an accident even if the error is preventable,” one person wrote. “What is being solved by having this debate? What injustice are we correcting?”

And when Mr. Larason suggested to officials at the Virginia Department of Transportation that they stop using “accident,” he received a note saying that drivers are familiar and comfortable with the word. Virginia officials also wrote that drivers might not consider a minor incident to be a “crash,” and so the change could be confusing.

Mr. Larason counters that accident is simply the wrong word. “I’m betting it’s one of the most commonly used words that is used inappropriately,” he said.

On Facebook, he posted a Merriam-Webster definition that describes accident as “an unexpected happening” that “is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured.”

The word was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries in the early 1900s, when companies were looking to protect themselves from the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job, according to Peter Norton, a historian and associate professor at the University of Virginia’s department of engineering.

The business community even developed a cartoon character — the foolish Otto Nobetter, who suffered frequent accidents that left him maimed, immolated, crushed, and even blown up. The character was meant to warn workers about the risks of inattention.

“Relentless safety campaigns started calling these events ‘accidents,’ which excused the employer of responsibility,” Dr. Norton said.

When traffic deaths spiked in the 1920s, a consortium of auto-industry interests, including insurers, borrowed the word to shift the focus away from the cars themselves. “Automakers were very interested in blaming reckless drivers,” Dr. Norton said.

But over time, he said, the word has come to exonerate the driver, too, with “accident” seeming like a lightning strike, beyond anyone’s control. The word accident, he added, is seen by its critics as having “normalized mass death in this country,” whereas “the word ‘crash’ is a resurrection of the enormity of this catastrophe.”

These days, the pressure to change the language stems partly from aggrieved families using social media like Facebook clubs and Twitter to lobby for change.

Safety advocates often post Twitter messages to journalists and policy makers, urging them to stop using “accident” to describe a crash.

When New York City changed its policy in 2014, it did so partly in response to such grass-roots efforts, including from a group called Families for Safe Streets. The group is led by parents like Amy Cohen, whose son, Sammy, was run over and killed in Brooklyn in 2013.

She helped start a campaign called “Crash Not Accident,” and said that the drivers in deadly wrecks should not be given the presumption of innocence just because they have lived to tell their side of the story.

“Whose story do you have at the time of the crash? The driver! The victim is dead,” Ms. Cohen said. “The presumption should be to call it a crash, which is a neutral term.”

Image: NYTimes

More Women Are Behind the Wheel Driving Cabs in New York City

More and more women are behind the wheel and driving Taxis, Uber and Lyft. With safety not being such a major concern any more, many women are taking on jobs with TLC and e-hailing car services.

Check out the full article here:

More women are behind the wheel – and getting paid.

High crime and dangerous streets have pushed many women out of the industry since the 1970s. But as the city, and services like Uber and Lyft, have beefed up safety measures through new technology, more women are opting into the profession.

Women first became part of New York’s taxi force in the 1940s, according to 2014’s “Taxicab Fact Book.” By the 1970s several thousand women were a part of the city’s yellow taxi fleet, but that figure shrunk to a few hundred by the 1990s, said Allan Fromberg, a spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

“There was definitely a mass exit of many female cab drivers in the 1970s due to the wave of crimes,” Fromberg said. “When crime was brought more under control and the city was a significantly safer place, starting in the ’90s, unfortunately women did not come back in those numbers.”

But that’s changing now.

About 349 women were registered as active medallion taxi drivers in 2015, 63 more than 2010, and 1,375 women were working in the for-hire vehicle service industry in the city.

Companies such as Uber and Lyft have made the profession more attractive for women, since they track client information and allow their drivers to make up their own schedule.

“I never thought that I would drive a taxi,” said 53-year-old Bronx resident Adalgisa Sanchez. She started driving with Uber three years ago, after leaving her job as a graphics designer to take care of her daughter. “I didn’t want anybody getting in my car without knowing who they are, and I didn’t want to handle money in my car.”

Uber has about 76,000 women drivers nationwide, about 19% of its fleet. About 30% of Lyft drivers are female.

Women make up about 4% of New York City’s for-hire operators and 1% of medallion drivers.

The flexible scheduling offered by for-hire services has helped make them more attractive for women, especially mothers, compared to working as medallion drivers, who often work set shifts because the vehicle or medallion is shared or rented, according to Bhairavi Desai, founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

“Most women (medallion) drivers I’ve known through the years tend to be driver-owned vehicle operators because they own the vehicle and have more control (over their schedules),” Desai said. “In the same way that women could organize their schedules or sense of control being in the DOV model, that’s similar to how people would view the Uber model.”

Taxi drivers had the highest number of deaths due to violence compared to any other occupation from 2006-2013, according to data from Bloomberg News. And the Bureau of Labor has classified the profession as one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

But Fromberg said that the statistics reported by the BLS don’t accurately reflect the industry in New York City. “There is no question in my mind that New York City has skewed the national take on the dangers of being a cab driver.”

Melissa Plaut, a 40-year-old yellow cab driver since 2004, found that being a female cabbie was filled with other pressing concerns outside of the realm of danger.

Plaut who is also a student at Hunter College and the author of “Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab,” said that the biggest hurdle for her and many other female cabbies was breaking from a shift to use a restroom.

“(It’s) hardest thing about being a female cab driver,” Plaut said.

“Having to look for parking every day and using a restroom somewhere gets expensive. Almost all of the guys I knew circumvented that.”

Photo: AmNY/ Melissa Plaut

Melissa Plaut is the author of “Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab.”

A 4 Point Speeding Ticket Reduced to Not Guilty and 0 Points

Speeding tickets are fairly common in New York and range in cost as well as license points depending on how fast you were going over the speed limit. Our client received a 4 point speeding ticket because they were driving 19 MPH over the speed limit.

Traffic Ticket Violations Points

Driving 1-10 MPH over the speed limit 3 points
Driving 11-20 MPH over the speed limit 4 points
Driving 21-30 MPH over the speed limit 6 points
Driving 31-40 MPH over the speed limit 8 points
Driving over 40 MPH over speed limit 11 points

If you are ticketed for speeding, we can fight for you. Call for free legal advice on Speeding Tickets at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com. The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket. Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online. This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

Self Driving Big Rigs Might be the Future of Commercial Driving

As technology continues to advance rapidly so has the production and creation of driver-less trucks and cars. Engineers say that first type of driver-less vehicle to be commercially viable will be big-rig trucks. These self-driving trucks will allow truck drivers to rest while the truck itself continues the journey, saving time and money and maybe even decreasing the number of accidents involving trucks. As this new technology progresses the truck driving industry worries about job loss and small towns that thrive off of it. With advancement comes change, and we are going to see this change within the next few years with the introduction of driver-less vehicles onto commercial roads.

What are your thoughts on these new driver-less trucks?

Read the rest of the article below:

SAN FRANCISCO — Imagine you are driving on a highway late at night when a big-rig truck closes in behind you. You relax because it is keeping a safe distance and seems to be obeying the speed limit. Now imagine that truck is driving itself.

Despite Silicon Valley’s enthusiasm for self-driving cars, it could be years before there are many of them on the road. But autonomous 18-wheelers? One start-up is betting that is a different matter.

Otto, led by 15 former Google engineers, including major figures from the search company’s self-driving car and maps projects, is aiming at the long-haul freeway driving that is the bread and butter of the commercial trucking industry.

The engineers think that automating trucks rather than passenger vehicles could be more palatable financially and to regulators. Nationally, trucks drive 5.6 percent of all vehicle miles and are responsible for 9.5 percent of highway fatalities, according to Department of Transportation data.

Adding self-driving technology — at least as it stands now — into regular passenger cars could make them absurdly expensive for anyone without the cash of a Silicon Valley mogul. Until recently, the laser sensor used on the Google car project cost $75,000.

Those costs are coming down, but it will be some time before they have a realistic price for consumers. But a new, big tractor-trailer truck can easily cost more than $150,000, so the added cost of robotic features could make more sense.

In addition, it could make trucking more efficient, allowing, for example, a human driver to rest in the sleeper cabin while the truck takes the wheel.

Still, automating commercial driving is controversial and — potentially — a job killer.

There are more than three million truck drivers in the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations, and about one in every 15 workers in the country is employed in the trucking business.

There is concern that if commercial trucking is completely automated, it would be economically devastating for small towns in America that thrive from supporting the long-haul trucking industry.

“The removal of truckers from freeways will have an effect on today’s towns similar to the effects the freeways themselves had on towns decades ago that had sprung up around bypassed stretches of early highways,” wrote Scott Santens, an independent researcher, in a blog post last year.

Autonomous vehicles have in recent years become one of the tech industry’s favorite projects. Uber sees them as a way to stop dealing with its pesky drivers. Tesla, along with other car manufacturers, sees autonomous technology as an important safety feature to help human drivers.

Even Apple is thought to be working on some sort of self-driving car tech.

Google, in particular, has aggressively advocated and developed autonomous vehicle tech, and its self-driving cars are regularly seen on Bay Area roads. The company also announced a deal earlier this month with Fiat Chrysler to install its technology in a fleet of minivans.

Since the Google car and map veterans, Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, founded Otto in January, the company has expanded to 41 employees and has been test-driving three Volvo trucks, logging in more than 10,000 miles.

Over the weekend, Otto tested a self-driving truck in Nevada.

Mr. Levandowski achieved some celebrity in 2004 while he was an industrial engineering graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He designed a self-driving motorcycle, stabilized by a gyroscope, that was entered in the Pentagon’s first autonomous vehicle contest. Later, his start-up, 510 Systems, was acquired by Google when it began its self-driving car project.

He said that he had decided to leave Google because he was eager to commercialize a self-driving vehicle as quickly as possible.

“Google is very focused on doing what they’re doing and I felt that it was time to see something come to market and I really liked the idea of bringing trucks to market,” he said.

Mr. Ron, Otto’s co-founder, is also a veteran Google software engineer. With a background in Israeli Army intelligence, he was originally the lead engineer for Google Maps.

He also worked in the company’s Motorola mobile phone business for three years and then in its secretive robotics research effort.

But start-up life isn’t like working for Google on its bucolic Silicon Valley campus.

Otto has set up shop in a rickety auto garage, close to a freeway entrance in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. But the new office has enough space to house the firm’s three new Volvo trucks, which have been equipped with cameras, radars, and spinning laser sensors known as Lidar.

It is basically the same sensor array used on prototype vehicles being developed by Google, Nissan, Baidu and others. But Mr. Levandowski said that costly commercial trucks gave his designers more freedom to add high-quality sensors.

Otto will offer its technology as an upgrade that a long-haul truck owner could purchase, or perhaps as a service a trucking operator could subscribe to.

“Initially there will be certain roads that we know we can drive more safely,” Mr. Levandowski said. “On those roads we’ll tell the driver, ‘You’re welcome to go take your nap or your break right now.’ If that’s 500 miles, that’s 10 hours, so he gets his full rest.”

The co-founders declined to reveal how much has been invested in the new company so far. They also would say only that they intend to “demonstrate commercial viability soon.”

Even as their technology progresses, Otto still faces a regulatory maze and plenty of competition.

A Silicon Valley start-up called Peloton is focusing on truck convoys for fuel efficiency. Last year, Daimler Trucks North America demonstrated a selfdriving truck in Nevada. Volvo and other truck manufacturers have alsoheld autonomous freeway driving demonstrations in Europe.

California motor vehicle regulations prohibit Otto’s vision of a truck traveling on the freeway with only a sleeping driver in the cab, for example. But many states would permit that technical advance.

“Right now, if you want to drive across Texas with nobody at the wheel, you’re 100 percent legal,” said Mr. Levandowski, who as a Google engineer, helped write draft legislation that permitted self-driving vehicles, which later became law in Nevada.

The company is initially aiming for the owner-operators market — truck drivers who own their own rigs and would be able to increase their productivity by sleeping during long-haul trips and dispensing with the need for a second driver.

“It will take a very long time to transition three million people,” Mr. Levandowski said, referring to the number of truck drivers in the United States. “However, it’s also the nature of progress. There used to be elevator operators in New York City and there are not anymore.”

 

That Selfie Can Wait! Don't Get Distracted on Prom Night

Distracted Driving during Prom Season is on the rise. We live in the age of the selfie, live video documentation and the constant fear of exclusion. And of course teens are on these social media apps even more on prom night. There’s nothing wrong with showing how much of a good time you’re having and showing off your ensembles. But there is an issue with doing it while driving! This becomes an even bigger problem if there is alcohol involved. According to research conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory and the Institute of Advanced Motorist the reaction time of a driver is slowed by 38% while using their smartphone, as opposed to the 12% of someone who has been drinking. When you’re distracted by your phone you could be looking away from the road for long periods of time and not even realize it. Sending a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, taking a selfie or creating a video takes even longer.

If your child is driving with their date or friends to prom or after prom activities make sure you talk to them about safe driving. Prom is no excuse to be on the phone while behind the wheel; if there is an absolute need to talk on the phone then pull over or give the passenger the phone to talk. And no matter how much fun they’re having singing along to music or how great they look there no need to Snapchat while driving or take pictures for Instagram. In 60 % of crashes nationwide, teen drivers were either chatting or looking at passengers in their vehicles or talking or texting on a cell phone seconds before collisions occurred, according to the study that analyzed five years’ worth of in-vehicle video data from nearly 1,700 crashes involving 16- to 19-year-olds. This is really a disturbing fact to read about but catastrophic if it happens to your family. Let this serve as reminder that looking down at a phone for even a second can be deadly.

According to the Pew Research Center 1 in 3 teens say they have texted while driving. A new study from AT&T, polling more than 2,000 people who use smartphones and drive at least once a day, shows nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net, while a surprisingly 1-in-10 take it even further and video chat. Snapchat and Instagram are the main networks being used while driving. One of the reasons teen are on their phones 24/7 is because of the fear of exclusion. They’re always afraid they’ll miss some big social media moment or “the perfect opportunity to post”.

New York has a very strict law concerning cell phones and portable electronic devices – a conviction for a cell phone ticket can lead to heavy fines and a penalty of 5 points, the same as passing a stopped school bus or reckless driving. And if coupled with a DWI/DUI the ramifications could be even worse and lead to a license suspension. There are also potential increases in Insurance premiums following a conviction.

If your teen has received a summons for distracted driving in New York, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 or michaelblock.law@gmail.com . This type of summons should be handled right away and as an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer, I can fight for you.

Nassau County Officials Remind Drivers to Share the Road with Motorcyclists

It is important that we remember to be mindful of motorcyclists and share the roads with them. For more information and tips on how to keep the roads safe for all drivers, see the full article below:

With warmer weather ahead, drivers should recognize they share the roadway with motorcyclists, Nassau County officials say.

Climbing temperatures are sure to prompt an increase in motorcycle use, so County Executive Edward Mangano and acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter in a news release stressed some safety guidelines for drivers.

Lacking such safety devices as seat belts and air bags, motorcyclists can be more prone to injury in crashes with passenger vehicles, the Friday news release said.

And because of their size and mobility in traffic, motorcycles often are undetected by other motorists — until it’s too late.

With that in mind, Mangano and Krumpter offered some safety rules for drivers:

Check blind spots. Motorcycles can easily slip into a driver’s blind spot — especially when they attempt to pass. Before changing lanes, check your blind spots. Use your mirrors.

Follow the four-second rule. Increase your driving distance when you’re behind a motorcycle. Maintain a cushion of at least four seconds.

Respect Mother Nature. Inclement weather, including strong winds, is even more hazardous for bikers than for drivers. Bad weather conditions reduce visibility and may make motorcycles more difficult to see. Drivers need to give themselves more space when in traffic with motorcycles.

Look before turning. A whopping 44 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013 were the result of a car trying to turn left while the motorcycle went straight, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Initiate your turn signal sooner than you normally would when you know there is a motorcycle nearby.

Night riding. Nighttime hours can be treacherous for motorcycle drivers. Motorists should increase their following distance and ensure that their high-beam lights are turned off. Also, when motorcycles are approaching, motorists should refrain from passing.

Be extra cautious. Winds generated by a passing truck or car can make a motorcycle unstable. Maintain an adequate following distance and a safe lane of traffic. Keep several car lengths between vehicles.

Photo: Newsday

NYPD is Working Overtime to Protect Bike Riders

The weather is getting warmer and New Yorkers are opting for bike riding instead of driving or taking the subway. This week Mayor DeBlasio is cracking down on motorists who drive or idle in stop lanes.

Read below for the full article:

The NYPD is cracking down on road hogs blocking bike lanes.

All 77 Police Department precincts will take part in a week-long crackdown that started Monday specifically targeting motorists blocking bike lanes or idling in no-standing zones. It’s part of a new Bicycle Safe Passage initiative to promote Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of Vision Zero.

“We believe in protecting everyone on our streets,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This targeted initiative will make sure New Yorkers on bikes have clear bike lanes and safe conditions as more and more people take to the streets.”

Launched during Bike Month, the NYPD wants to correct bad behaviors as summer cyclists hit the street.

“We see, as the weather gets better, more cyclists in New York City and we want to make sure they can utilize the bike lanes in a safe manner,” said NYPD Transit Chief Thomas Chan at a press conference Monday.

Since 1990, daily cycling trips in the city have increased by 320 percent, according to a Department of Transportation report released in May.

As more cyclists ride in the city, safe streets advocates have questioned the NYPD’s commitment to Vision Zero.

At March’s Vision Zero Conference, Police Commissioner William Bratton told the crowd that the idea of reaching zero traffic deaths would “probably remain elusive.”

“We are focusing on violations that can endanger our city’s cyclists, and making sure New Yorkers can safely travel on bike lanes throughout the five boroughs,” Bratton said in a statement supporting the initiative.

Chan said that the NYPD has remained dedicated since the mayor launched the initiative in 2014.

“In 2014…we actually reduced the number of traffic deaths by 15 percent and last year, in 2015, we reduced the number by 9 percent,” Chan said. “So we’ve been working towards the goal of reducing the total number of fatalities and injuries that are occurring on the streets of the city of New York.”

The enforcement blitz will run through Friday. Chan said that a focused, week-long window can be more effective than extending crackdowns longer. The NYPD hasn’t ruled out more crackdowns under the initiative, but will wait to see how the results turn out this week.

Photo: AmNY

3 Point Failure to Obey to a Stop Sign Ticket in Merrick, Nassau County Reduced to 0 points.

VTL 1172a states that except when directed to proceed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. Or in the event that there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of the approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.

If you receive a summons for Failing to Stop at a Stop sign, you would be facing a fine. For first time offenders, you would be fined $150 and have to pay an $88 surcharge. You would also receive 3 points on your license and in rare circumstances; you could face up to 15 days in jail.

I was able to fight for this client and get their ticket reduced to 0 points! By retaining my office this client was able to avoid all possible fines and points.

It is very important to contact an experienced Traffic Ticket Attorney immediately if you or someone you know ever receives a summons for Failing to Stop at a Stop Sign. I can fight for you! Call my office at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

Cops on Long Island Give Out Hundreds of Summonses in April

Suffolk County had a distracted driver initiative last month and issued almost 1,000 citations for various distracted driving infractions.

Read the article below:

You know who you are: Drivers who got busted last month in Suffolk County for texting or cellphone chatting, instead of paying full attention to the road.

As part of a monthlong distracted driver initiative, held in conjunction with state and local police, county police officers issued more than 930 citations in April for distracted driving — a 117 percent increase over the same time last year, according to Suffolk County police.

Correspondingly, county police responded to 11.75 percent fewer crashes — 3,320 of them — than in April 2015, police said in a news release issued Thursday.

During the crackdown, State Police on Long Island issued 810 citations, with 470 of them tickets for cellphone use, 314 of them for texting, and 26 for move-over law infractions, the release said.

There’s a “strong correlation” between such distracted driving violations and the number of motor vehicle crashes, police said.

Funding for the initiative, which was statewide, came from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

DWI and Prom Night- Don't Let it Be Your Child

Prom night should always be thought of and remembered as a great night in a teen’s life. Most of us can reminisce about our prom night; what we wore, who accompanied us and what music was played.  And as a parent we want the same for our children. No parent should be thinking about their child receiving a summons, being involved in a car accident or being arrested. Alcohol is involved in almost 1/3 of teenage car accident fatalities on prom night.

Traditionally most teens (or their parents) shell out money to rent a limo or have some sort of chauffeur, but now-a-days most kids rent a luxury car and drive themselves. Nothing is wrong with that, but because of this new prom norm, more attention needs to be paid to teen drinking and driving.  Teens face a lot of peer pressure when it comes to drinking. They should always know that there are alternatives to getting behind the wheel or in the car with someone who has been drinking. If they do decide to break the law and drink and drive there are serious consequences. The penalties of drinking and driving may include the loss of driving privileges, a criminal record and a fine. The penalty fine for a DWI is a minimum of $500.

90% of teens believe their peers are more likely to drink and drive on prom night.Teens already expect that there will be drinking and driving. It is the responsibility of parents to have honest talks with them about the dangers and present alternatives to them.  Let your teen know that if something goes wrong or their ride has begun to drink that you will be able to pick them up or arrange to bring them home. Make sure they are aware of Uber, Lyft and local car services. Too many teens lose their lives each year to underage drinking. Every year 5,000 people under age 21 die in alcohol related crashes

If you or someone you know received a DWI/DUI then please contact an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney immediately! A new driver should not be receiving points on their license. Contact me at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail  to fight a DWI or any other traffic violations.

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Uber is attempting to make your Commute Easier with $5 Carpools

Uber is editing their carpooling system. They are offering $5 rates during a pilot program for using UberPOOL, but there are a few catches.

Check out the full article below:

Uber will now offer flat $5 carpool rides in Manhattan during peak hours, but there are plenty of catches.

Commuters must be picked up and dropped off in Manhattan below 110th Street and they’re going to have to walk to get to their driver. The deal is part of a new pilot program that will reshape UberPOOL service to more closely resemble that of a local bus: instead of heading to a customer’s specific location, UberPOOL drivers will be picking up and dropping off customers along corners of their route.

The e-hailing app hopes that this will help streamline UberPOOL routes to provide cheaper and more efficient peak service, according to a blog post the company published on Sunday. It’s the first time the company is implementing the concept.

“By making it easier and more affordable to carpool, we’re working toward our goal of getting more people into fewer cars,” read the blog. “Corner pickups and drop-offs make driving routes more direct, so you’ll save time and arrive at your destination faster.”

The service will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. To take advantage of the deal, commuters need to download latest version of the Uber app. Select “POOL” and Uber will direct commuters to the nearest corner to be picked up. Riders will be dropped off at a corner near their destination.

Uber did not specify an end date for the pilot.

Photo: AMNY

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This Social Media App Could Kill Your Kids

Technology is constantly evolving and new forms of social media are being created every day. Snapchat is the newest and most popular social network; just about everyone has it on their phone or knows someone who actively uses it. It’s a combination of a video and photo app complete with the ability to add and write captions, filters and even a speedometer filter. Users, who are largely made up of teens are living in the super connected age; they never want to miss a thing, so they’re always logged on. This means snapping while in school, out with friends and even in the car. The biggest problem with this app is that users are “snapping” while behind the wheel.

According to Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students against Destructive Driving (SADD) a survey that was taken of 11th and 12th graders across the country proved that teens are using snapchat more than any other form of social media when driving. Out of all other possible digital distractions, Snapchat ranked highest at 38%. There are an alarming number of car accidents and fatalities being caused by users that were snapping while driving. The speedometer filter is also a major factor in users snapping while driving. There have been reports of teens in car accidents who were snapping while their speeds were maxing over 100 MPH.

snap and drive

It’s important that parents have conversations about distracted driving and the consequences of using Snapchat and other social media apps while driving.  With Snapchat’s growing popularity and constant updates making it even more enticing to use whenever and where ever; teens need to know that it’s okay to put the phone down. In New York, lawmakers are pushing for Text and Driving/Distracted Driving tickets to be treated like DWIs. A conviction may result in license suspension. Snapchat’s core users are under the age of 24 and new drivers cannot afford a five point ticket (Improper use of Portable Electronic Device).

Make sure you speak to your children about their phone usage while behind the wheel. Remind them that it is against the law, can cost them (or you the parent) money, points on their record or even worse, their life. If you or someone in your family has received a summons for using an electronic device while driving, please do not hesitate to contact me. Young drivers should not have any infractions on their records, and as an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney I can fight for them. Contact me at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

 

Photo: NY Times 

5 Point Cell Phone Ticket in Yonkers Reduced to 0 Points

cellphone ticket may be issued regardless of how the driver was using the device.  The law defines “using” as holding your cellphone while talking, taking pictures, texting, or simply viewing the device.  So if you are viewing the device as a GPS, you are in violation.

In addition, cellphone tickets rack up as much as 5 points.  Extra points on your license can increase the price of your insurance.  3 cellphone tickets could result in the suspension of your license.

The cost of cellphone tickets can range between $50 to $400 depending on the gravity and frequency of the offense. Aside from the immediate cost of the ticket, points on your license could cause insurance premiums to increase significantly.

When you receive the cellphone ticket, do not discuss it with the police officer.   Anything you say can, and WILL be used against you in court. Officers take notes on any comments you make which can later harm you while disputing your traffic ticket.

A cellphone ticket lawyer is waiting to help you. New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record. My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket. Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients. If you’ve received a speeding ticket or any other type of moving violation, let us help you! Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

L Train Shutdown or Service Change Talks Have Begun

MTA has begun discussing plans for the L Train’s upcoming 18-month construction to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. They will either close the subway line or reduce service during the construction period. Either way this change in service will cause delays and increase traffic from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Please read the rest of the article below:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering two proposals to shut down the L train tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn that would close the subway line under the East River or reduce its service by 80 percent, officials said on Wednesday.

The proposals that will be outlined at a public meeting in Brooklyn on Thursday are closing the entire tunnel for a year and a half to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy, or closing one tube at a time over a three-year period. Any shutdown — a growing source of anxiety among people who live along the crowded subway line — would not begin until early 2019, officials said.

If one tube remained open, trains would run every 12 to 15 minutes, up from the current interval of three to four minutes during the morning rush, officials said at a briefing for reporters. Trains could carry about one-fifth of the 225,000 riders who currently take the L train under the river each day.

The agency has ruled out making repairs only during nights and weekends because the complex work could not be done in such a narrow window, said Veronique Hakim, the president of New York City Transit, which runs the subway and buses. Building a subway tunnel under the river, as some residents have suggested, would be expensive and take too much time, Ms. Hakim said.

Under either proposal, the authority might run extra buses over the Williamsburg Bridge and add ferry service between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Riders could be directed to other nearby subway routes, including the G and M lines, which would have additional trains to handle more passengers.

The authority’s chairman, Thomas F. Prendergast, and Ms. Hakim planned to present the two options on Thursday during the meeting at the Marcy Avenue Armory. A second public meeting is scheduled for May 12 at the Salvation Army Theater in Manhattan.

The subway crossing, known as the Canarsie tunnel, was flooded during the 2012 hurricane. Officials said the tunnel required major work to fix crumbling walls and to repair tracks and cables.

Despite the damage, Mr. Prendergast said that the tunnel was safe for riders, and that the agency had conducted regular inspections to look for problems. After receiving input from residents and businesses, the agency plans to decide which option to pursue within three months.

Asked whether he would rather close the whole tunnel at once, Mr. Prendergast said the agency was committed to hearing from the community before making a decision. But he noted that when people learned more about the plans, they often favored a full closing.

“I think there is an ‘Aha’ moment they have in their minds, like, ‘Geez if it’s only one in five people you can carry, maybe it would be better to have two tracks,’” Mr. Prendergast said in reference to closing the tracks in both tubes, the more efficient of the two options.

The Canarsie tunnel work could cost $800 million to $1 billion, with the federal government covering much of the project, Mr. Prendergast said.

The briefing was the first time that officials from the authority discussed the plans in detail. Under plans for a full tunnel closing, no L trains would run between the Eighth Avenue stop in Manhattan and the Bedford Avenue stop in Brooklyn. The line would continue to run throughout the rest of Brooklyn.

If one tube were closed at a time, the L line would run in two separate segments: reduced service between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue and nearly regular service between the Lorimer Street and Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway stops.

Asked whether buses might have a dedicated lane over the Williamsburg Bridge so they would not get stuck in traffic, Mr. Prendergast said the idea would be considered. To add capacity to the G line, Ms. Hakim said the agency would add cars to its trains, which are known for being shorter than their platforms.

Reckless Driving or Dangerous Driving in New York City- What it Means To You

Examples of Reckless Driving are swerving out of your lane because you’re using your legs to steer, bobbing and weaving through traffic and in an extreme case, doing car stunts. Reckless Driving accounts for 40% of people killed in car crashes in New York City. Whenever you drive in an unsafe manor that puts you or any other motorist in danger it can be considered Reckless or Dangerous Driving. It’s very easy to be stopped for reckless driving in New York City. How often do we see motorists get impatient because someone else is driving too slowly? They whip around them or quickly jump into another lane, cutting someone else off. As a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney, I’ve represented motorists on many of these summonses.

VTL 1212 defines Reckless Driving as driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any other power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited.  A conviction for Reckless Driving in New York is a misdemeanor. Fines can reach $300. You also will receive 5 points on your driving record.

It is within the Police Officer’s discretion whether to issue a summons for Reckless Driving or Dangerous Driving.  

The officer will issue a yellow summons for Dangerous Driving and the hearing will be at an NYC Traffic Violations Bureau. A conviction carries two (2) points and a minimum fine of $138. Traffic Violations Bureau will hear these cases.

If you receive a Reckless Driving summons, the officer will issue a pink ticket. The summons is returnable to New York City Summons Parts. They are located at 346 Broadway (NYC), 120 Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn), 125-01 Queens Blvd (Queens), 215 East 161st Street (Bronx) and 26 Central Ave (Staten Island).

In New York, Reckless driving is a misdemeanor and this offense will go on your record. There also could be possible jail time; 30 days for the first offense, 90 days for the second and 130 for a third offense.

Since Dangerous and Reckless Driving appear to be the same violation, the ticket you receive is really dependent on the police officer and the situation. It’s important to obey all traffic rules whenever you’re behind the wheel. If you have received a summons for Reckless or Dangerous Driving it’s imperative that you retain an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney. These are serious violations and should be handled immediately.  You can contact me by phone at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

Looking for a Career Change? Try the Commercial Automotive Industry

I’ve had the privilege to know and do business with Roman Gold for over 10 years.  He owns a successful CDL Driving school in Brooklyn and Spring Valley, New York. If you or someone you know is interested in a Commercial Driver occupation I strongly recommend going to CDL Auto Club, Inc. Roman and CDL Auto Club, Inc. have been a great resource to my clients over the years , so I asked him to share a little bit about his school, CDL Auto Club, Inc.

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Tell us a little bit about CDL Auto Club, Inc.

Roman Gold: At the CDL Auto Club Inc. we offer convenient automotive training to fit your needs. In business since 1991 we have helped thousands of people pass their road test. At the CDL Auto Club Inc. we specialize in driving lessons and refresher courses, commercial driving license (CDL) training, 5 hour pre-licensing classes and own a variety of vehicles to help you pass your road test. When you learn how to drive with us, we will provide the same vehicle you were trained on to take your road test, especially if you on trained on a tractor trailer or a bus.

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Why is making a career switch to being a Commercial Vehicle Operator a good idea?

Roman Gold: The commercial driver occupation represents a good employment opportunity. The Job Growth Forecasts indicate that there will be readily available jobs for drivers for the foreseeable future. Entry-level drivers enjoyed starting compensation levels around $35,000 per year. Many transportation companies offer benefits such as insurance, retirement plans, paid vacations and safety bonuses. Drivers that are successful as employees can become owner-operators and own their own businesses, which is how many of today’s large trucking companies began. Everyone has heard of outsourcing, where jobs are shipped overseas. That simply cannot be done with Commercial drivers.

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Why should someone who is interested in obtaining their CDL license choose CDL Auto Club, Inc.?

Roman Gold: Delivering your success is the foundation of our service. When selecting a driving school, you need to have confidence that your instructor is always doing what’s right for you…and not what may be convenient for them. All of our instructors work for the CDL Auto Club Inc. No services are outsourced. Your success is important to us. Most of our business comes from referrals from existing students. In a matter of weeks, you can be trained and placed in a new career as a professional Commercial Vehicle Operator, placing you on the fastest road to success in the new economy.

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Does CDL Auto Club, Inc. offer any other services?

Roman Gold: We also offer 6 hour defensive driving courses for anyone who would like to reduce up to four (4) active points on their driver’s license. This course can be useful in removing points received within the last 18 months.

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: That would be very helpful for my clients who have received summonses that carried points.

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Where can interested students take classes and how can they get in contact with you?

Roman Gold: There are two locations to choose from 2749 Stillwell Avenue 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11224, or 16 N Main St, Spring Valley, NY 10977.  Please visit http://www.driverseducationbrooklyn.com/ for more information or call 718-266- 2555 with any questions.

 

 

 

Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle, How To Avoid Spillback in New York City

Gridlock is major part of New York City traffic. There are thousands of cars on the streets and sometimes when attempting to make it through an intersection a car gets stuck in the middle. In smaller cities getting stuck in the middle of an intersection isn’t that big of a deal, because there are fewer cars on the road. In Manhattan Spillback or “blocking the box” can cause major gridlock. It also can cost you a fine & two points on your license.

If you see a sign like the one posted in the picture above, please make sure you do not enter the intersection unless you are sure that you will make it completely across. So far this year through the month of March, New York City Police have issued 949 summonses for Spillback with in the five boroughs. Last month in March alone, there were 295 summonses issued. As a New York City Traffic Ticket Attorney I often represent clients for this summons.

Spillback or Blocking the Box is defined by VTL 1175 as when vehicular traffic is stopped on the opposite side of an intersection, no person shall drive a vehicle into such intersection. Except, when making a turn unless there is adequate space on the opposite side of the intersection to accommodate the vehicle he/and or she is driving, notwithstanding the indication of a traffic control signal which would permit him to proceed. The penalty for Spillback in New York is a minimum fine of $138. If you receive a summons you will also receive two (2) points on your license.

If you are driving in Manhattan and you have a green light, but there are cars stopped in front of you on the other side of the intersection, that should be a warning sign to slow down. If there are cars stopped on the other side of the intersection but the rear end of the last car is still in “the box” that is a clear sign to stop! Traffic lights typically are not that long, so there’s always a chance that the light will change while you approaching or driving through it.

Many of us are always in a rush, but if you want to avoid getting a summons, slow down when crossing a crowded intersection. If you have recently received a summons for Spillback let an experienced New York City Traffic Ticket Attorney fight for you. Contact my office immediately at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

New York Attempts To Crack Down on Texting and Driving With The Textalyzer

Texting and driving is a growing issue, especially among young drivers. In an effort to catch drivers who were pulled over or in an accident due to texting New York Lawmakers are pushing for a Textalyzer. This device would be able to confirm if the driver was texting prior to the accident.

Read more on the Textalyzer below:

Over the last seven years, most states have banned texting by drivers, and public service campaigns have tried an array of tactics — “It can wait,” among them — to persuade people to put down their phones when they are behind the wheel.

Yet the problem, by just about any measure, appears to be getting worse. Americans confess in surveys that they are still texting while driving, as well as using Facebook and Snapchat and taking selfies. Road fatalities, which had fallen for years, are now rising sharply, up roughly 8 percent in 2015 over the previous year, according to preliminary estimates.

That is partly because people are driving more, but Mark Rosekind, the chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said distracted driving was “only increasing, unfortunately.”

“Radical change requires radical ideas,” he said in a speech last month, referring broadly to the need to improve road safety.

So to try to change a distinctly modern behavior, legislators and public health experts are reaching back to an old strategy: They want to treat distracted driving like drunken driving.

Harvard’s School of Public Health, for example, is developing a new push based on the effective designated driver campaign it orchestrated in the United States beginning in the late 1980s. Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has helped found a new group this year,Partnership for Distraction-Free Driving, which is circulating a petition to pressure social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to discourage multitasking by drivers, in the same way that Ms. Lightner pushed beer and liquor companies to discourage drunken driving.

The most provocative idea, from lawmakers in New York, is to give police officers a new device that is the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer — a roadside test called the Textalyzer.

It would work like this: An officer arriving at the scene of a crash could ask for the phones of any drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating system to check for recent activity.

The technology could determine whether a driver had used the phone to text, email or do anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws, which prohibit drivers from holding phones to their ear. Failure to hand over a phone could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, similar to the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer.

The proposed legislation faces hurdles to becoming a law, including privacy concerns. But Félix W. Ortiz, a Democratic assemblyman who was a sponsor of the bipartisan Textalyzer bill, said it would not give the police access to the contents of any emails or texts. It would simply give them a way to catch multitasking drivers, he said.

“We need something on the books where people’s behavior can change,” said Mr. Ortiz, who pushed for the state’s 2001 ban on hand-held devices by drivers. If the Textalyzer bill becomes law, he said, “people are going to be more afraid to put their hands on the cellphone.”

If it were to pass in New York, the first state to propose such an idea, it could well spread in the same way that the hands-free rules did after New York adopted them.

Ms. Lightner said the intensifying efforts around distracted driving “are the equivalent of the early ’80s” in drunken driving, when pressure led to tougher laws and campaigns emphasizing corporate responsibility.

Distracted driving “is not being treated as seriously as drunk driving, and it needs to be,” she said.

“It’s dangerous, devastating, crippling, and it’s a killer, and still socially acceptable,” she added.

The safety administration plans to release the final fatality numbers as early as Thursday but previously announced that the numbers appeared to be up sharply.

Jay Winsten, an associate dean and the director of the Center for Health Communication at Harvard’s School of Public Health, said, “We’re losing the battle against distracted driving.”

Dr. Winsten is developing a distracted-driving campaign based on designated-driver efforts that were ultimately backed by major television networks and promoted by presidents, sports leagues and corporations.

He said the new campaign would urge drivers to be more attentive, rather than scold them for multitasking, and would encourage parents to set a better example for their children.

The campaign, though still in development, has already garnered support from YouTube, which has agreed to recruit stars on the website to create original content involving the message. Dr. Winsten said he had also been in talks with AT&T, Nascar, a major automaker and potential Hollywood partners.

Dr. Winsten said the new campaign could be a kind of carrot to encourage better behavior by drivers, but he added that a stick was also needed.

While the Textalyzer raises potential privacy concerns, it might help enforce texting bans that have so far proved ineffective, he said.

“Right now, we have a reed, not a stick,” Dr. Winsten said, adding that the Textalyzer would “make enforcement that much more credible.”

Now, the police can obtain a warrant for cellphone records, but the process takes time and resources, limiting the likelihood of investigation, Mr. Ortiz said. But those protections are there for good reason, according to privacy advocates, who oppose the New York bill.

“It really invites police to seize phones without justification or warrant,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

A unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that the police could not search a cellphone without a warrant, even after an arrest, suggesting an uphill fight on the New York legislation.

But the bill’s authors say they have based the Textalyzer concept on the same “implied consent” legal theory that allows the police to use the Breathalyzer: When drivers obtain a license, they are consenting in advance to a Breathalyzer, or else they will risk the suspension of their license.

Matt Slater, the chief of staff for State Senator Terrence Murphy of New York, a Republican and a sponsor of the bill, said the constitutional concerns could and should be solved. “It’s monumental if we can get this done,” he said.

Mr. Slater said he hoped it could happen this session, which ends in June, but, he added, it may take several tries and may require broader public support.

“We’re facing the same hurdles we faced with drunk driving,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure safety and civil liberties are equally protected.”

Fourteen states prohibit the use of hand-held devices by drivers, and 46 ban texting, with penalties ranging from a $25 fine in South Carolina to $200 fines elsewhere, and even points assessed against the driver’s license.

A handful of states have strengthened their original bans, including New York, which in 2014 adopted tougher sanctions that include a 120-day suspension of a permit or a license suspension for drivers under 21, while a second offense calls for a full-year suspension.

Deborah Hersman, the president of the nonprofit National Safety Council and a former chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said she liked the Textalyzer idea because it would give the police an important tool and would help gather statistics on the number of crashes caused by distraction.

She said the Textalyzer-Breathalyzer comparison was apt because looking at and using a phone can be as dangerous as driving drunk.

“Why are we making a distinction between a substance you consume and one that consumes you?” Ms. Hersman said.

The Textalyzer legislation has been called Evan’s Law for Evan Lieberman, who was asleep in the back of a car on June 16, 2011, when the vehicle, driven by a friend, lost control.

Mr. Lieberman, 19, died from his injuries, and his father, Ben Lieberman, spent months trying to gain access to phone records, which ultimately showed that the driver had been texting.

Ben Lieberman became an advocate for driving safety, and in December, looking to develop the Textalyzer concept, he approached the mobile forensics company Cellebrite, which was involved in helping the government find a way into a locked iPhone, and which works with police departments around the country.

Jim Grady, the chief executive of Cellebrite U.S.A., said that the Textalyzer software had not been fully built because it was not clear what a final law might require, but that it would not be too technologically challenging.

“I hope it will have the same effect as the Breathalyzer,” he said.

Suffolk County Roads are Dangerous and Police are Issuing More Summonses for Speeding

Suffolk County has one of the most dangerous streets in downstate New York. And with recent deaths caused by speeding, Suffolk County Police have increased their presence and are issuing more summonses.  Summonses for speeding received in Islip, New York contain 3 to 11 points. In addition the fine, theirs is an $88 NYS surcharge and a $100 annual driver assessment fee.

Retaining an Islip Traffic Ticket Attorney to fight a speeding ticket can help reduce the number of points on your driving record or waive the charges altogether depending on your case. For example, if an officer says that a driver was speeding on Smith Ave or Raymond Street, an experienced Islip Traffic Ticket Attorney can defend you.

Be aware, the higher the speeding violation, the more points you will receive. An easy way to calculate how many points your ticket is worth is to subtract the speed you were going, from the actual speed limit. For example, if you are pulled over for going 60 mph in a 40mph zone, just subtract 60 from 40. That leaves you with 20, and puts you in the 4 point ticket category.

Violation Points
Driving 1-10 MPH over the speed limit 3 points
Driving 11-20 MPH over the speed limit 4 points
Driving 21-30 MPH over the speed limit 6 points
Driving 31-40 MPH over the speed limit 8 points
Driving over 40 MPH over speed limit 11 points

Remember that the DMV can suspend your license for accumulating 11 points or more within 18 months (regardless of violation type). In addition, simply receiving 3 convictions for speeding tickets in an 18-month period results in a 6 month revocation of your license.

If you have a speeding ticket in Suffolk County or any traffic tickets and violations, call us immediately at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  When you hire Michael Block, Islip Traffic Ticket Attorney, you are not required to attend court.  We will always call to update you about your court dates and results as well as answer any questions you have about the process.

Villages in Long Island to get Speed Radar Signs

If you live in North Hempstead, Long Island be aware that there are 16 villages that will be installing speed radar cameras to enforce speed limits. There will be 29 signs installed and they’re being funded by New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Check out the full article below:

Speed radar signs will be installed in 16 villages and unincorporated parts of North Hempstead in an effort to slow down motorists.

The electronic signs display how fast an oncoming driver is going and what the legal speed limit is on that road. The signs are to be dispersed throughout the villages and parts of North Hempstead. The project is funded by a $100,000 state grant, officials said.

Twenty-two of the 29 signs are portable and officials said they would consider moving them around based on community concerns. Two of the signs are affixed to trailers. Five can be permanently secured to poles or other structures.

“Every once in a while, we’re having a really tough time and there’s not enough police enforcement,” Supervisor Judi Bosworth said Monday. “If you put up a speed radar sign, it raises people’s consciousness as to how fast they’re going.”

Villages where the signs will be used are East Hills, East Williston, Flower Hill, Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza, Lake Success, Manorhaven, Mineola, New Hyde Park, Port Washington North, Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, Roslyn Harbor, Saddle Rock, Westbury, and Williston Park.

State. Sen Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury), who secured the grant, said he had “heard from a number of communities” about speeding.

“We went to the town and told them about our concerns and asked if they would coordinate for the entire town,” Martins said Monday.

The funding comes from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Town officials said they expect to approve the funds at Tuesday’s town board meeting.

The grant requires the town to purchase the devices for the villages. Officials from the town’s highway and public safety departments are to identify potential sites for the speed signs in North Hempstead, with the coordination of Martins and village leaders.

Bosworth said spots where the trailers would be most effective include sections of Roslyn Road and nearby Roslyn High School.

Gov. Cuomo Announces "No Empty Chair" Safe-Driving Initiative for Teens

Governor Cuomo announces the “No Empty Chair” Initiative for teens during prom and graduation season. These are milestones to be celebrated in every high school students’ life but it’s important that they arrive alive!

Check out the full article below:

A weeklong safe-driving initiative aimed at teenagers during their prom and graduation season gets under way Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said.

The “No Empty Chair” teen driving safety education and enforcement campaign launches Monday with law enforcement statewide focusing on drivers who speed in school zones.

Each day this week law enforcement will target specific infractions, while also enforcing all other vehicle and traffic laws, according to a news release from Cuomo’s office.

The target days are as follows:

** Monday: Speeding in school zones.

** Tuesday: Seat belts and child restraints.

** Wednesday: Cellphone use and texting.

** Thursday: Operation Safe Stop, which promotes school bus safety.

** Friday: Underage drinking and impaired driving.

The idea is to raise awareness of highway dangers during prom and graduation season by combining the efforts of state and local law enforcement with those of school administrators, local traffic safety partners, and other community stakeholders, officials said.

Raising awareness means saving lives and helps to ensure there are no empty chairs at prom and graduation this season, officials said.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee started the initiative on Friday, at West Genesee High School in Camillus with several speakers and a mother who lost her teenage son in a crash.

“Nearly every year, communities across New York state experience the tragic deaths of high school students in traffic crashes,” Department of Motor Vehicles executive deputy commissioner Terri Egan said in a statement. “We want to eliminate crashes, especially during prom and graduation season, and make sure every teen is in their seat on graduation day.”

Egan said a part of the initiative’s goal is to keep police officers from making “that dreaded knock on the door to parents waiting for their teens to return home.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.

The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research said between 2012 and 2014 11 percent to 13 percent of all motor-vehicle fatalities in New York occurred in crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20.

Drivers ages 16 and 17 involved in fatal and personal injury crashes in New York were more likely to be driving with passengers than drivers in all other fatal and personal injury crashes — 43 percent versus 29 percent in 2014.

Photo: Getty Images

Consequences for Receiving Speeding Summonses in Yonkers, NY

Speeding summonses issued in Yonkers, New York contain 3 to 11 points. Convictions usually result in an increase of insurance premiums. The fines for a speeding ticket range greatly, depending upon the severity of the violation. In addition to the fines, there’s an additional surcharge of $88 per ticket. You can also receive a Driver Assessment Fee.

Retaining a Yonkers Traffic Ticket Attorney to fight a speeding ticket can help reduce the number of points on your driving record or eliminate points depending on your case. A majority of the tickets my office receives that were issued in Yonkers are for driving 21-30 mph, driving over 40 mph and driving 11-20 mph..

Remember that the DMV can suspend your license for accumulating 11 points or more within 18 months (regardless of violation type).  If you are convicted of 3 speeding violations received in the same 18-month period, your license will be revoked for 6 months.

In NYC the TVB—Traffic Violations Bureau only allows you to plead guilty or not guilty. However, if you receive a summons in Yonkers, then you would report to the Yonkers City Court at 100 South Broadway Yonkers, NY 10701. For example, you received a ticket on Park Hill Ave or Riverdale Ave, an experienced lawyer can defend you. Point reductions are usually offered to attorneys.

Be aware, the higher the speeding violation, the more points you will receive. An easy way to calculate how many points your ticket is worth is to subtract the speed you were going, from the actual speed limit. For example, if you are pulled over for going 60 mph in a 40mph zone, just subtract 60 from 40. That leaves you with 20, and puts you in the 4 point ticket category.

Violation Points
Driving 1-10 MPH over the speed limit 3 points
Driving 11-20 MPH over the speed limit 4 points
Driving 21-30 MPH over the speed limit 6 points
Driving 31-40 MPH over the speed limit 8 points
Driving over 40 MPH over speed limit 11 points

 

If you’ve received a summons for speeding, cellphone, texting, stop sign or any other violation in Yonkers or any other county in New York State  call us immediately at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  When you hire Michael Block, Yonkers Traffic Ticket Attorney, you are not required to attend court.  We will always call to update you about your court dates and results as well as answer any questions you have about the process.

 

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Are You Stopping in Hempstead, Long Island?

STOP! Slowing down to 5 miles per hour and rolling through an intersection and tapping the brakes does not constitute a complete stop. When you see a stop sign, by law you must come to a full and complete stop.

VTL 1172a states that except when directed to proceed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. Or in the event that there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of the approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.

In the town of Hempstead, New York plenty of people are being pulled over for not completely stopping at Stop Signs. Don’t let this be you! Even when there are no cars present you still must adhere to the law because a pedestrian could be attempting to cross the street. I know when it seems like the coast is clear, it may seem like an okay idea to just breeze past a stop sign. But it only takes a few seconds to come to a complete stop and could save a life and save you money.  Hempstead is home to one of the most dangerous routes for pedestrians in the region.  Route 24, also known as Hempstead Turnpike is tied for most pedestrian deaths in 2012-2014. A way to reduce the number of killed and or injured pedestrians on Long Island is to be mindful and adhere to Stop Signs. It’s also important to stop at Stop Signs because they help regulate traffic flows. If there were no Stop Signs, then the roads would be a constant gridlock of traffic.

If you receive a summons for Failing to Stop at a Stop sign, you would be facing a fine. For first time offenders, you would be fined $150 and have to pay an $88 surcharge. You would also receive 3 points on your license and in rare circumstances; you could face up to 15 days in jail. Hearings are held at 16 Cooper Street in Hempstead, NY or in local Village Court.  We can represent you without you having to be present.

If you have received a summons for Failing to Stop at a Stop Sign in Hempstead or Nassau County contact your Hempstead Traffic Ticket Attorney  right away! You can call me at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

Nassau County Woman arrested for DWAI with Young Children in the Car

A Nassau County woman was arrested for DWAI/ Drugs;Driving While Ability Impaired by a Drug other than alcohol, with her children in the car. You never should NEVER drive while taking medicines that were prescribed to you. Prescription pills can impair your driving the same way that drinking and driving can. Pay attention to the caution labels on your pills!

Check out the full article below:

Nassau County police arrested a Long Island woman Monday for driving her two young children around while she was allegedly impaired on prescription drugs —  then crashing her car into another vehicle.

The incident happened around 1:40 p.m. in Merrick.

Kathryn Naccari, 37, was driving a 2013 Honda Accord southbound on Babylon Road and making a left turn onto Merrick Road  when she crashed into a 2010 GMC Arcade that was traveling east on Merrick Road, police said.

Naccari’s 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son were secured in car seats at the time of the accident, according to police.

The driver of the second vehicle, a 62-year-old woman, suffered back injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Naccari and her children were unharmed, and the kids were released to a family member at the scene.

Naccari was charged with DWAI drugs, two counts of aggravated DWI-with a child passenger less than 16 and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

She will be arraigned on Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

NY Traffic Lawyer Warns Brooklyn Drivers about an anticipated 11,500* more Failure to Yield to Pedestrians Tickets in Brooklyn, NY coming in 2016.

One of the most commonly cited violations related to pedestrian and driver encounters in Brooklyn, New York is the Failure to Yield to Pedestrian violation.  The failure to yield to pedestrian ticket is a 3 point violation. There have been 1,931 summons issued this year alone for Failing to Yield to A Pedestrian in Brooklyn.

You can receive a Failure to Yield Summons if you do any of the following:

  • If you do not yield to pedestrians walking in a crosswalk
  • If you pass another car that is already yielding to pedestrians, you can be ticketed.
  • If you do not give pedestrians the right of way at a traffic control device such as a Stop, Yield, or Traffic Light, even if you have the green light.

As a traffic court lawyer, I want you to be aware of these things.

In addition to Failing to Yield to Pedestrian being a major moving violation that results in a fine, it could also result in serious injury or death. Every year more than 15,000 pedestrians are injured by drivers in New York City.  The Right of Way Law which is part of Mayor Deblasio’s Vision Zero plan helps protect pedestrians on dangerous city streets. The law makes it a possible misdemeanor crime when a driver fails to yield and kills or injures a person walking in the crosswalk with the right of way. If a driver fails to yield but doesn’t cause an injury, the driver may be fined up to $188; if the driver causes physical injury or death, the driver may be fined up to $338 and in theory be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail, though this is highly unlikely for the first offense.

When driving, it’s important to recognize when a pedestrian is likely to cross.  When making a right turn, you may have the green light but the pedestrian is also prompted to walk by traffic control signs.

Generally, the Failure to Yield to Pedestrian ticket is given under the police officer’s discretion.  If a police officer feels that you are driving recklessly or putting the safety of pedestrians at risk, you may be given a summons. If you are given a summons you will be required to report to one of the five traffic violations courts in Brooklyn:  Traffic Violations Bureau Brooklyn North, Traffic Violations Bureau Brooklyn South, Kings County Supreme Court, Kings County Criminal Court and Red Hook Community Justice Center.

If you’ve received a Failure to Yield to Pedestrian ticket anywhere in Brooklyn, we can help you fight it. Email your Brooklyn Traffic Lawyer at michaelblock.law@gmail.com or call 212-227-9008 for free legal advice.

*numbers based on monthly average from first two months of 2016.

Car Crashes are the Leading Cause of Death for 4- year olds. Keep Them in Seatbelts

Did you know that every year about 33,000 people are killed in car crashes? One way to lower that number is to always wear a seat belt while driving or riding in a car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) car crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 4 and every age 11 through 27 in the U.S. Wearing a seat belt should be second nature as soon as you get in a vehicle. It is the number one way to reduce risk of death.

In addition to seat belts saving lives, it’s the law. New York was the first state to pass a law requiring vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt in 1984. Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times in the state of New York.

Seat belts absorb the force of an impact in a traffic crash and reduces your risk of being killed or injured. It holds you securely to help prevent you from striking hard objects inside the vehicle while being tossed around . People have said that wearing a sea tbelt is uncomfortable or not necessary for going short distances, but imagine being seriously injured in an accident or killed. A few minutes of “discomfort” are worth it, if it means saving a life.

Every child under the age of 16 in a vehicle must wear a seat belt. If under age eight, he or she must be properly secured in a federally-approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a safety belt or universal child restraint anchorage system. The safety seat should never be in the front and should always be properly secured.  You also should have children under age three in a rear facing safety seat. There are four types of child safety seats that should be used:

  • Infant seats- for infants weighing approximately 22 pounds or less
  • Convertible child safety seats- for infants or toddlers that weigh approximately 40 pounds or less
  • Booster seats- for children who have out grown the other car seat options or are four to eight years old, weigh 40 to 80 pounds ad are less than 4 feet, 9 inches in height.

If you are pulled over for not wearing a seat belt or have passengers who aren’t buckled up you can be fined up to $138. Adult passengers can also receive tickets and be fined up to $138, that ticket has no points.  If the passenger is under 16 years of age then the driver will be held responsible and receive the ticket. The driver will be fined a minimum of $138 for passengers under 16 not wearing a seat belt. The tickets will carry three points. The officer can issue a summons for each individual not wearing a seat belt. I have had clients with 3 or 4 tickets from one stop. That means facing 9 -12 points. It is essential that everyone in the front and back seat are wearing their seat belts properly.  Keep in mind, anyone in the front seat is required to wear a seat belt, but any passengers over the age of 16 in the backseat aren’t required to be buckled up. But as an adult driver be sure to set the example for passengers who are children. Make sure they are wearing their seat belts the correct way and make sure they know you are always buckled up.

If you have recently received a ticket in New York for not wearing or improper use of a safety belt then please contact my office right away. As a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney, I can fight for you. You can call me at (212) 227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

 

Catch the Train of Many Colors to the Mets' Opening Day

On Friday, April 8, the vintage “Train of Many Colors,” consisting of 11 cars built between 1948 and 1964, will leave 34th Street-Hudson Yards at 11:30 a.m. and make express stops to Flushing-Main Street for the Mets home opener at 1:30 p.m. against the Philadelphia Phillies. The varying colors on those cars mark different eras in subway history.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said riders to all Yankees game should use the Yankee Stadium station, which serves the B, D and 4 lines, which is right in front of the stadium at the corner of 161st Street and River Avenue.

The subway’s Mets-Willets Point station, served by the 7 train, is in front of Citi Field on Roosevelt Avenue near 126th Street.

After weeknight and weekend games, New York City Transit provides special super-express 7 trains timed to depart after the last out.

After leaving the game, these trains make only six stops — 61st Street-Woodside, Queensboro Plaza, Court Square, 42nd Street-Grand Central, 5th Avenue-Bryant Park, and Times Square-42nd Street

The Long Island Rail Road provides direct service to the Mets-Willets Point station all season long via the Port Washington Branch, about 19 minutes from Penn Station. Citi Field is about 17 minutes from Great Neck and 27 minutes from Port Washington.

Fans traveling from Long Island on other branches can reach Citi Field by changing to Port Washington Branch trains at Woodside, about a five-minute ride from the stadium. Regularly scheduled Port Washington Branch trains will make stops at the Mets-Willets Point Station throughout the regular season for all games, and the LIRR will operate extra trains for each weekend game.

Check out the full article from NY Daily News

 

 

Get your Metro cards ready! Some NYC Streets to shut down on Earth Day.

On Earth day parts of Manhattan will be closed to vehicular traffic. This act is part of the #CarFreeNYC initiative and the goal is to reduce New York’s carbon footprint. It also will give New Yorkers the chance to take advantage of all the various forms of mass transportation available in the city.

Check out the AMNY article below for more information:

Parts of Manhattan will be shut down to car traffic on Earth Day to help lower New York’s carbon foot print and a city councilman wants the Big Apple drivers to ditch their rides to join in the effort.

Councilman Yndanis Rodriguez said the #carfreeNY initiative would go a long way for reducing New York’s carbon footprint and lowering the number road accidents.

Too many people are riding in cars by themselves instead of taking advantage of the various mass transits options available, according to the councilman who chairs the transportation committee.

“We have a responsibility to our environment, to our residents and to ourselves to have a frank conversation about the inefficiencies of car use,” he said at a news conference at NYU’s Kimmel Center Wednesday.

As part of the initiative, Broadway between the Flatiron Building and Union Square, Wadsworth Avenue from 173rd to 177th streets and the roads surrounding Washington Square Park will all be shut down April 22. Rodriguez hopes New York drivers will take up the pledge and find alternative ways of traveling, including carpooling, subways and buses.

He acknowledged that some communities, like southeast Queens, Staten Island and the Rockaways are “transit deserts” but said that the initiative will help highlight their plight and push the city to take more action.

“It clearly speaks to the need for investment in mass transit in these communities as imperative to social mobility, especially for the many New Yorkers who are unable to afford a car in this expensive city,” he said.

 

Just Some Thoughts from a Traffic Ticket Attorney: Final Four Dilemma

I have a rooting dilemma in the NCAA tournament. If the North Carolina wins, I will win second place in an attorneys’ bracket contest (and a very small amount of money).

 On the other hand, two of my nieces went to Syracuse and my associate Scott is a Syracuse Alum. And of course I want them to be happy.

Top Driver Excuses Given When Pulled Over For Cellphone Use While Driving

Getting pulled over for using ANY electronic device is a major offense. It is no wonder that when people get pulled over for talking on the their cellphone while driving they use all kinds of excuses to try to get out of their ticket. Take a look at the top 5 excuses I’ve stopped my clients from repeating in court:

1. I was using my GPS

2. I was just checking the time

3. I wasn’t using it, I was just holding it in my hand

4. It wasn’t my phone it was my comb. I was doing my hair.

  FYI- Then you’re still breaking the law. You must have both hands on the wheel.

5. I wasn’t on my phone, I was shaving.

                        – Shaving is still distracted driving, please don’t shave while driving. You could cause an accident or cut yourself.

6. I only had my phone in my hand because it fell on the floor and I had to pick it up.

 7. I was stopped at a red light.

                If actually true and believed by the court, this is a defense. But  if the officer’s statement is that the vehicle was in motion it’s hard to overcome. It’s best to NOT have your phone anywhere near you unless you are parked and the engine is off. Don’t touch it, look at it or play games on it.

Please remember: you must have BOTH hands on the wheel at all times while driving. It is never okay to “multi-task” while driving. If you are pulled over for driving while on your cell phone or any electronic device you will be ticketed and given 5 points. If this has happened to you please call my office immediately at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

Just Some Thoughts from a Traffic Ticket Attorney: NY Mets

Will the NY Mets end my personal drought of 30 championship-less years?

They look great “on paper” but that often doesn’t translate into success on the field. They should feature great young starting pitchers, an awesome closer and a good, but not great offense.

I don’t fear the Cubs or Nationals but I think the main threat will come from the Giants, Pirates and the always-present Cardinals.

Let’s Go Mets!

Guest Feature: The Automotive Academy for New York & Cross County Safety Education

Are you unfamiliar with the current New York State driving rules and regulations? Or are you in danger of having your license suspended?  The Automotive Academy for New York (AANY) and Cross County Safety Education (CCSE) are great resources for both issues. AANY offers driving lessons, and accident prevention courses. CCSE offers a Health & Safety course that offers point reduction for any eligible driver. Most drivers facing suspension are eligible for point reduction.

Automotive Academy for New York Driving School and Cross County Safety Education are two sister companies that have been in existence since March 2013; With dual efforts, they have designed their delivery of services to assist New York State’s motorists in understanding, interpreting and staying within the confines of New York State’s stringent traffic laws.  It also helps motorists meet the challenge of keeping abreast of the changes and modifications in all traffic laws, requirements, fines and fees in New York State.

About Driving Services

Automotive Academy for New York (AANY) is a New York State licensed driving school in the state of New York. It provides the following services to its community: Driving Lessons, 5 Hour Pre-Licensing Class, Defensive Driving, Road Test Preparatory for CDL and Class D Licenses, and Community Fund Raising Options. It provides FREE consultations to people who need to renew, maintain or acquire commercial or Class D NYS driver’s licenses. Automotive Academy for New York Driving School offers services to the community in Long Island, Queens, Albany and Central NY.

The driving school’s newest venture for community involvement it the New Driver Start Up course; hosted by CUNY York College’s Department of Continuing Education. Tangible outcomes of this course include New Driver Pre-License Certificate, Defensive Driving Accident Prevention Certificate, 2 Road Test Prep Driving Lessons, and a Scheduled Road Test.

About Accident Prevention Services

Cross County Safety Education, Inc. (CCSE) offers New York’s Accident Prevention through Empire Safety Council.  It services the Capital Region, Central NY, Long Island and the five boroughs. It has strengthened its community relationships by providing services to Local 804 (UPS drivers), Uniondale Fire Department, the Utica Public Library and classes to Albany, Clinton and Utica public schools.

Cross County Safety Education, Inc. is ready to assist you and your members to become safer drivers while reducing the cost of your insurance and to assist in getting points off your license. The topics for each class address the current traffic and road conditions specific to the area that it services. Topics include snowy road conditions, rural or urban driving, aggression and road rage dynamics, city lane markings, etc. This Health & Safety Program is a fast, easy, and inexpensive accident prevention workshop that provides individuals with proven effective accident prevention methods.  Upon completion of the course, the driver will obtain a 3 year insurance discount and point reductions on their driving record. Fund raising incentives are offered to clubs and organizations in communities to support safe driving.

AANY’s headquarters is located in Uniondale NY, for more information on taking a Defensive Driving course you can call AANY at (516) 279-9281 or email them at nydriving.school@ymail.com.

It’s important to stay on top of any and all New York State traffic law changes. You never want to get pulled over for breaking a law that you were unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, not knowing isn’t a good enough reason to not get ticketed. And if you have received over 6 points within the last 18-months and are facing a possible suspension you should seek counsel immediately. We can fight for you! Give us a call at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

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Happy Purim to all those who celebrate!

Purim is a holiday that commemorates a brave woman’s effort to save the Jewish people from being wiped out. Queen Esther was married to a King who had no knowledge that she was Jewish or that Haman was plotting to destroy all the Jews.

Thankfully she persuaded the King to defeat the plot.

 So bravo Queen Esther and all other brave women of the world!

What you should know about the TLC Critical Driver's Program

If you are a cab or livery driver in New York City, then you are familiar with the TLC’s Critical Driver’s Program. The Critical Driver’s Program is a TLC program that charges additional penalties to a Driver who accumulates a certain number of Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) points on his or her state driver’s license within a certain amount of time due to traffic violations.

If a cab driver accumulates six or more points, but fewer than ten points within 15 months, the TLC will suspend their Taxicab license for 30 days. If a driver accumulates 10 or more points on their license in a 15-month period the TLC will revoke their Taxicab license. This is not to be confused with a DMV suspension.

Drivers are usually given the opportunity to have their points reduced by voluntarily taking ca Defensive Driving course. Before suspending or revoking a Driver’s taxicab license, the Commission will, for purposes of the Critical Driver’s Program deduct three points from the total points. But keep in mind, the point reduction will only count towards points accumulated by the licensee as a result of the conviction for violations that occurred within the 15 months prior to completing the course.

It’s important for all taxicab drivers to be aware of this program. While you may not be subjected to a DMV suspension or revocation, you could lose your job. If you find yourself in this situation you should seek counsel immediately. You can contact us via phone at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

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Unsafe Lane Changes In NYC

If you are getting in front of someone and they have to slam on their brakes or slow down drastically, then you have just made an unsafe lane change and can be ticketed for that.

If you have recently received a ticket for making a unsafe lane change give my office a call as soon as possible. You can reach us at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you are going out in New York to celebrate please be careful! Always take public transportation or any taxi and car service available.

DO NOT get behind the wheel.

Too many people lose their driving privileges or worse, kill or hurt themselves or others because they drove drunk.

Don’t forget to wear your green and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Getting A Speeding Ticket In The Village of North Hills, NY

Speeding tickets contain 3 to 11 points; receiving these points may result in an increase of insurance premiums. The fine for a speeding ticket mainly depends upon the severity of the violation. Along with the cost of the ticket, there’s an $88.00 NYS surcharge and a $100.00 annual driver assessment fee if you’ve accumulated six or more points within an 18-month time period.

If you receive a ticket on Long Island it’s important to understand the area that you were summoned. Long Island is made up of two counties, Nassau and Suffolk and within each county there are towns and villages. Even though the villages are small they may have their own Police force and Courthouse. Summonses issued in the Village of North Hills are issued by Nassau County’s 6th precinct.

If you are pulled over and given a ticket within the town of North Hills, a court appearance will be at the North Hills Village Court.  For example, if you are stopped by the Police on Stonehill Drive, you would report to North Hills Village Court, not the  Traffic and Parking Violations Agency (TPVA) in Hempstead. The court location will always be on your ticket if you are ever unsure.

Be aware of these speed limits and rules in the town of North Hills:

  • Except as otherwise provided herein, no person shall drive or operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle on a highway, street or private road at a speed in excess of 45 mph.
  • No person shall drive on Shelter Rock road between the flashing signs at a speed higher than 30 mph.
  • You also are not permitted to drive on the North Hills section of I.U. Willets Road at a speed in excess of 30 mph.
  • No person shall operate a vehicle or motorcycle on Searingtown Road in the Village of North Hills at a speed in excess of 35 mph
  • No person shall drive or operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle on Hollow Lane in the Village of North Hills at a speed in excess of 35 mph

If you plead not guilty to a charge of speeding, it is possible you will receive a reduction in points. The following comprehensive guide will allow you to understand the point system for speeding tickets at a TVB—Traffic Violation Bureau or at a village court like the North Hills Village Court.

First determine how many points your offense carries.

Violation Points
Driving 1-10 MPH over the speed limit 3 points
Driving 11-20 MPH over the speed limit 4 points
Driving 21-30 MPH over the speed limit 6 points
Driving 31-40 MPH over the speed limit 8 points
Driving over 40 MPH over speed limit 11 points

Remember that the DMV can suspend your license for accumulating 11 points or more within 18 months (regardless of violation type). Also, simply receiving three convictions for speeding tickets in an 18-month period will result in a six month revocation of your license. Even two tickets within an 18-month period can have dire consequences. If you have received a second speeding ticket within an 18-month period or any violations in the Village of North Hills, feel free to call our office at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com right away for a free consultation and assessment of your license.

When you retain my office, we will attend court on your behalf and manage all communication with the court. You will not be required to attend court. We will always update you about your court dates and results as well as answer any questions you have about the process.

 

MADD is against requiring Uber to operate under same laws as Taxis

In an effort to hold all car companies to the same standard, Southampton Town has proposed legislation requiring Uber, Limousines and Livery cabs to adhere to the local taxi law. This includes paying the same fees as cabs: $750 for a town license, $150 per car and $100 per driver.

Requiring Uber to follow these requirements might drive the popular car service out of town. MADD thinks this is a major issue because it limits options for people to get home after a night of drinking. In 2013 more than 10 percent of the state’s alcohol related crashes took place Suffolk County. Clearly there is a need for multiple options when it comes to getting people home safely.

Check out the full article below:

The New York State executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is urging Southampton Town officials not to pass proposed legislation requiring Uber, limousine and livery cabs operating in Southampton to adhere to the local taxi law.

MADD is part of a coalition that supports statewide regulation for the app-based ride-sharing service. The group feels the service offers a safe alternative to keep drunken drivers off the road.

A letter from MADD’s Richard C. Mallow dated March 8 and sent to Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and members of the town board urged them to revoke the proposal.

“There is a clear need for affordable and reliable transportation options in the area,” the letter stated.

Citing a report last year by the nonprofit Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, Mallow noted that in 2013, more than 10 percent of the state’s total alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes occurred in Suffolk County. He said the institute, which is based at the University at Albany, found that between 2011 and 2013, “Suffolk County had more alcohol-related accidents than anywhere else in New York State.”

The more options for a safe trip, the better, Mallow said.

“We have to make sure we give people as many options as we can to get them home safely,” he said in an interview Monday.

If the amendment to the existing taxi law is adopted, Southampton would become the second East End town to adopt measures to regulate Uber operations locally.

Councilman Stan Glinka, the board’s liaison to transportation, is proposing the measure, which is set for a March 22 public hearing. He said MADD’s letter will not change his plans. Schneiderman was not immediately available Monday for comment.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang has called the proposal an attempt to protect local cabs from competition. The company stopped doing business in East Hampton Town last year when officials required Uber drivers to have a local business address to obtain a taxi license.

NYC to receive 15 miles of bike lanes this year

Mayor Deblasio announced that there will be 15 miles of protected bike lanes installed in the five boroughs by the end of 2016. These additions are a continued effort of Deblasio’sVision Zero” initiative to reduce traffic deaths.

Check out the rest of the article below:

Bike riders throughout the city can feel a little safer this year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Transportation announced Thursday that they will install 15 miles of protected bike lanes throughout the five boroughs by the end of the year.

De Blasio said this is three more miles than were built last year and it’s a key component of his “Vision Zero” initiative that aims to reduce traffic deaths.

“Even after the safest year ever recorded on our streets, our Vision Zero efforts will expand the network of protected bike lanes even farther, so we can have safer streets for all our people,” he said in a statement.

A protected bike lane has a barrier from road traffic.

There will be 10 sections of road that will get the bike lanes in four boroughs and one bridge. Manhattan will get the lion’s share of the protected sections in four locations: Amsterdam Avenue between West 72nd and 110th streets; Chrystie Street between Canal and 2nd streets; 6th Avenue between West 8th and West 33rd streets and; 2nd Avenue between East 105 and East 68th streets.

Three sections in Queens will get the lanes: 20th Avenue between 37th Street and Shore Boulevard; Hoyt Avenue North between 27th and 19th streets; and Shore Boulevard between Ditmars Boulevard and Astoria Park South.

A protected lane will also be installed at the Bruckner Boulevard between Hunts Point and Longwood avenues in the Bronx, the Marine Park Connector between Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, and the Pulaski Bridge.

Don't Let This Happen To You, Call A Cab!

Two people in Long Island are heading to jail because they drove drunk. A 24-year-old woman is facing 4 years for driving drunk and killing her friend in 2013. And a 29-year-old man was sentenced and will serve a minimum of 5 years for driving dunk and causing a crash that killed a Nassau County Police Officer.

With all of the resources available today like Uber and Lyft, there is no excuse for drunk driving. If you’re leaving a party or event and have been drinking you SHOULD NOT get behind the wheel.

The price of a cab or an Uber is nothing compared to going to jail or knowing that someone lost their life. Please be safe.

Refusal Hearings in Nassau County

According to New York’s Implied Consent Law, all Nassau County drivers must submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical test at the request of a police officer when the officer suspects the driver of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other words, by operating a car, motorists consent to submit themselves to chemical tests and relinquish their right to refuse. If a driver were to refuse the chemical test, they will open themselves up to many different problems. Refusing the test will result in the automatic suspension of one’s driver’s license, which may be followed by other penalties after the driver attends a Refusal Hearing.

What is a Refusal Hearing?

A Refusal Hearing occurs before an administrative law judge at a New York State DMV and is meant to determine whether or not the driver willingly violated the Implied Consent Law. The Refusal Hearing does not address any issues stemming from a DWI or DUI arrest other than the refusal to submit to the chemical test; if charges are brought against the driver for DWI or DUI offenses, that hearing will be held in Nassau County Criminal Court. A New York Refusal Hearing lawyer will also have an opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer at the hearing, which will help the attorney gain valuable information from the officer which can be used in any DWI or DUI criminal hearing.

Right to Waive Hearing

Every driver has the right to waive a Refusal Hearing, but this is not what a Nassau County DWI lawyer would recommend. If a driver waives their right to the hearing, they are effectively pleading guilty to the refusal charge. Their driver’s license will be revoked for one year and they will face a stiff financial penalty. All of this will occur regardless of whether the driver is charged in Criminal Court, and their driver’s license can be revoked even if the criminal charges are dismissed.

Consequences

As noted above, a driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test in Nassau County will have their driver’s license automatically suspended. If found guilty at the DMV Refusal Hearing, their driver’s license will be revoked for up to one year and they will have to pay a $500 fine, as well as the NY Driver Responsibility Assessment. In addition, the fact that the driver refused to submit to the chemical test can be brought against them if / when they are tried on alcohol or drug charges. A Nassau County DWI lawyer can work with a driver to determine the best course of action at the Refusal Hearing so that these penalties may be avoided.

If you are ever arrested for a DWI and are facing a Refusal Hearing in Nassau County, please contact us at 212-227-9008 or at michaelblock.law@gmail.com. A Nassau County DWI lawyer can assist with all matters leading up to the hearing and will begin working on your DWI defense immediately.

 

If You Don't Work For MTA, Stay Out Of The Bus Lane!

Effective February 25, 2016, all tickets issued for improper use of the bus lane in New York City now carry 2 points! This violation previously carried no points, but now you will receive points in addition to a $138 minimum fine.

There are two types of bus lanes; a curbside bus lane, which is a travel lane for buses at the curb and an offset bus lane that is a travel lane for buses that is one lane away from the curb. If you are caught driving, parking or obstructing this lane for any reason during hours of operation you will be ticketed. Bus lanes are marked by signs and or pavement markings.

If you receive a bus lane summons in New York City, I can fight for you. Give me a call at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

 

 

Watch Out Uber, Yellow Cabs May Be Making a Comeback!

Thanks to this mobile app, taxis and black cars may be back on top. Karhoo, a London based mobile app works like a search engine for taxis and black cars and plans to have 30,000 cars at launch. Karhoo is set to launch in New York City within the next six weeks.

Karhoo-Feature-Image1-e1451935298981

Check out the full article below:

Karhoo — a new mobile app that works like a search engine for taxis and black cars — says it will be bigger than Uber when it launches in the Big Apple next month.

The deep-pocketed startup has cut a deal to add 66,000 cabs across 60 US cities, casting itself as a high-tech savior for old-school cab companies that are pitted against Uber in a battle for survival.

London-based Karhoo said it aims to go live in New York within the next six weeks, when its users will instantly have access to 14,000 yellow and green taxis as well as 17,000 other licensed and regulated cars, according to the company.

Those numbers would dwarf the Gotham ranks of Uber cars, which last year numbered 16,000 by some estimates.

“We’ll have more than 30,000 cars out of the gate, and that puts us in a very strong position,” Karhoo founder and Chief Executive Daniel Ishag told The Post.

The fleet-by-fleet growth strategy — as opposed to Uber’s driver-by-driver approach — is poised to put 1 million cars on Karhoo’s platform worldwide by the end of 2016, Ishag says.

Other cities launching in the coming months include London, Singapore, Chicago and San Francisco.

In New York, the three-year deal with Verifone, a mobile transaction middleman, includes yellow cabs that have also gone live on the Way2ride and Curb mobile apps. Black car companies being added to Karhoo’s platform include Carmel, Dial 7, Elite and La Puma.

“I love the whole concept,” says Berj Haroutunian, CEO of Vital, which operates 300 black cars in the metro area. “It goes through us in central dispatch,” instead of directly to drivers like Uber does.

Karhoo’s search engine finds and ranks traditional taxis and car services according to real-time proximity, like Uber. Drawing on a wide variety of cab dispatchers, it can also sort by name and price, much like travel sites find and rank flights and hotels.

The app charges a commission of about 10 percent a ride, while Uber charges between 25 and 30 percent.

Karhoo has raised upwards of $250 million to fund its expansion, sources said. Ishag anticipates the total will reach $1 billion over the next 12 to 18 months.

Karhoo’s ambition to serve as a “universal platform” for the patchwork of legacy taxi companies could make the difference, says Matthew Daus, a former commissioner of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

“Uber never would have gotten any traction if all these cab companies were on the same platform,” Daus said.

An app promising immediate access to cars without surge pricing is a powerful idea, he added.

“If they do the advertising correctly and get the word out it’s going to be what Coke is to Pepsi,” he said.

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The Secret to Avoiding a Driver’s License Suspension

You were caught speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, texting/talking on your cell phone or driving through a light as it turned red when you shouldn’t have in New York City. These things can happen to the best of us but are you aware of what to do next? Do you know how to answer the ticket?

There are various ways to answer a summons for a moving violation. The first option is to plead via internet or via mail. You also can go to the Traffic Violations Bureau Office (TVB) to plead in person. If you are unsure as to where you should go, check the back of your summons. The location, website and contact information are located on the back of the ticket. You will have 15 days from the date the summons was issued to respond. If for some reason you miss that 15 day deadline, you’ll be okay as long as you respond within 30 days. Failure to respond can result in license suspension.

What happens if you plead guilty?

If your ticket contains points they will be added to your license if you plead guilty. There are circumstances where you or your attorney will be required to personally appear in front of a judge to enter a guilty plea.

What happens if you plead not guilty?

If you plead not guilty you will be given a hearing date and you must appear. If you hire an attorney and sign the proper documents, then the attorney will appear in court for you.

If you do not answer your summons in a timely fashion, you will receive notification from NYS. The notice is called an indefinite suspension order and will contain information on how to avoid a suspension. Once you receive the notice there will be another deadline to respond. Failure to meet that deadline will result in license suspension. Your license would be suspended for not paying the fine and a judgment would be entered against you. If your license is suspended then you will have to go to a TVB to have the suspension lifted. A suspension termination fee of $70.00 must be paid for every ticket for which you were suspended. Depending on how much time has elapsed, you may still be able to get a court date to contest the charges.

If you receive a summons for a moving violation we can fight for you. If you fail to respond to a ticket I may be able to help you but it’s imperative to contact me as quickly as possible. Give us a call at 212-227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com with any questions.

 

World Trade Center Transit Hub Finally opens

A portion of The World Trade Center’s new $4 billion transportation hub opened today.

The Oculus, is a huge pristine white hall that will stop you dead in your tracks.

WTC inside 2

The architecture has many New Yorkers staring in awe or shaking their heads. Architect Santiago Calatrava designed it to look like a dove, but many have compared it to angel wings or bones.

Most importantly, it will serve as another memorial for those lost in the September 11th attacks.

The hub will connect 11 subway lines, the PATH system, and Battery Park City Ferry terminal. It will allow access the 9/11 memorial and World Trade Center buildings. Retail stores and restaurants will be occupying spaces in the months to come. Paul Bergen, northjersey.com

World Trade Center Oculus

With the opening of the Oculus, the rest of the memorials and the daily bustle of commuters coming into the city from New Jersey one can only imagine the increase of pedestrian traffic on the surrounding streets.

If you are a cab or Uber driver please be mindful and obey all traffic rules by World Trade Center. And if you receive a ticket in that area I can help you fight it! Call me at 212-227-9008 or email MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com with any questions.

Photo: NY Times

If You Commit a Minor Crime You May Not Be Arrested

The New York City Police Department and Manhattan district attorney announced a policy shift on Tuesday. People who commit minor crimes such as drinking in public or riding between subway cars will receive summons instead of being arrested. This shift was announced in an effort to reduce a backlog of cases pending in criminal court.

“Officials estimate the changes will result in about 10,000 fewer cases being prosecuted in Manhattan Criminal Court each year, freeing up police officers, prosecutors and the court to focus on more serious crimes.” Ashley Southall, NYTimes.com

Arrests will only be made if the offense is seen as a threat to public safety. Also, if the offender has any open warrants they will be taken into custody to handle the summons.

Certain moving violations are considered criminal, if you commit a criminal violation the summons will look like this:

Summons

If you are caught driving in New York without a license, driving under the influence (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI) you will receive a summons. Its great news that they aren’t arresting most offenders but it’s imperative that these summonses are taken care of.  If you receive a criminal summons I can help you fight it. Call me at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com with any questions.

A few thoughts from a frustrated Knicks fan…as the season winds down to another unhappy ending.

Is there any way that we can be freed of Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony? Under Phil Jackson’s regime the New York Knicks have suffered two of their worst back to back seasons in their once illustrious history. As for Carmelo, the Knicks have won one playoff series in his five seasons here.

Jackson has shown that he still has some eye for talent; he drafted Porzingis. Melo has shown that he still is a pretty good player, although he shouldn’t be an NBA team’s number one option.

Going forward, what can be done to get this franchise moving into the right direction? Will Jackson resign? Will Carmelo accept a trade?

Just some thoughts from a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney…

Driving Laws are not usually affected by Supreme Court decisions..but there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment for Supreme Court Vacancies. It should read something like this:

Upon the death or incapacity of a Supreme Court Justice, the President shall, within thirty (30) days select a replacement. Upon the President’s selection, the Senate shall conduct hearings and must confirm or deny the President’s choice within sixty (60) days.
This might solve the problem we would have with the Supreme Court vacancy we now have. At least it forces the Senate to act. And by the way, President Obama should pick Justice Scalia’s replacement very soon.

Surely he had a list long before Justice Scalia’s death. Unfortunately, I don’t think an amendment like this would ever pass.

  1. I agree. Thems the brakes! If one dies then person in the Whitehouse at that moment gets to submit candidates. Enough already.

Nassau County announces AMNESTY period on National Random Acts of Kindness Day

Nassau County has announced an amnesty program for anyone with outstanding tickets. If it sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Before you run to the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency there are a few things to consider first. This is a great program but it’s not offered to everyone with traffic violations it’s actually offered to a limited group.

This program is for anyone with outstanding tickets from before Jan. 1, 2014. Minor moving violations such as failure to stop at a stop sign, missing license plates and failure to signal are just a few of the eligible moving violations. Cell phone tickets, driving without a license and DUIs are not eligible. Settlement negotiations are offered for anyone with outstanding major moving or criminal violations.

With every case we receive we always negotiate settlements in addition to fighting for point reduction and ticket dismissal. If you don’t qualify for the amnesty program or have any moving violations that you received after 2013 in Nassau County or anywhere in Long Island, New York Traffic Ticket Attorney Michael Block is able to fight for you and negotiate a settlement.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced the initiative on Tuesday, Feb. 17 for National Random Acts of Kindness Day. The program began on Feb. 22 and last until May 22, 2016. Fines for the violations will be cut in half and any additional fees will be waived if payment is made by May 22. The goal of this program is to clear a huge portion of Nassau County’s outstanding tickets. “We are trying to clean out the inventory of tickets issued before 2014. The goal is to get money owed to Nassau County,” said John Marks, executive director of Nassau’s Traffic and Parking Violations Agency.

Nassau County attempted a similar program in 2011 in an effort to regain up to $21.7 million in outstanding tickets but only recovered $150,000.
If you are accepted into this amnesty program you still must pay the $45 county fee on the ticket, as well as state surcharge of $88 for traffic violations or $10 for parking violations

Drive carefully and give us a call at (212) 227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for help with any  Nassau County traffic tickets or moving violations.

Photo Credit: www.newsday.com

  1. Thanks for writing about this. At first you think, Wow! a big discount. Then you realize it benefits people with really old tickets. It would be great it this covered cell phone tickets, speeds and big problem tickets.

Fed Up Uber drivers protest the App during the Super bowl

Fed Up Uber drivers protest the App during the Super bowl in an effort to slow down business and get corporate headquarters attention on one of the busiest Sundays of the year. Tired of price cuts, no benefits for full time drivers and all around poor treatment, the driver partners led by fellow Uber driver Abdoul Diallo are in the process of creating their own e- hailing app that would better benefit employees.

Check out the full article from the New York Times below:

On Super Bowl Sunday, a few hundred Uber drivers met in the cold in a public park in Queens, plotting to disrupt the app that thousands of New Yorkers were about to use to get in place to watch the big game. Gathered angrily on rows of wooden benches were Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Kenyans, Serbs and Bangladeshis, many of them waving handmade signs. Their yellow placards attacked the ride-hailing service in the innumerable languages of polyglot New York. “Shame on Uber!” one announced in Spanish. “Uber Broke Our Hearts!” said another in Tibetan. Then in English: “We Made You Billionaires!” and “We Are Not Slaves!”

“We want to show Uber that without us full-time drivers, they won’t have any cars on the road,” Abdoul Diallo shouted from atop a concrete stage. Mr. Diallo, a Guinean immigrant who has emerged as a leader of the strikes, was holding up his own sign: “No Drivers, No Uber — It’s That Simple.”

“This is the formula!” he hollered to the crowd.

It has been nearly five years since Uber arrived in New York City. With its Randian philosophy and proprietary algorithms, the company promised to reshape the driving industry, and in many ways that promise has come true. A million New Yorkers have become accustomed to making cars materialize by pulling out their smartphones — and not just in Manhattan, but also in the other boroughs, which have long been underserved by for-hire providers. In part as a result, taxi owners have seen their profits crumble, taxi lenders are slowly going under and taxi unions are scrambling to protect their members’ jobs.

More recently, however, Uber’s indomitable rise has been clouded by an insurgency from a small but vocal portion of its own drivers who say they feel neglected, even used. From spring 2014 to spring 2015, the company quadrupled its business in the city, and for nearly a year it has been signing up new customers at a rate of 30,000 a week. The drivers argue that such dynamic growth would not have been possible without them: They, after all, supply the cars that keep the network liquid. Drawn to the company by advertisements that promised decent wages, many now contend that they are victims of a corporate bait-and-switch. As Uber has obtained a solid foothold in the market (and a $60 billion valuation), the drivers are complaining that it has slashed its prices in an effort to destroy the competition and to finance its expansion on their backs.

“In the beginning, your company was great for both drivers and customers,” Mr. Diallo and his partners wrote this month in a letter to the service. “You treated drivers well and we loved you for that. Little did we know that it would be a short-lived momentary ecstasy that you used to lure us in in great numbers, just so that you can execute your plans and strategies toward world domination.”

Uber, mostly through the voice of Josh Mohrer, the 33-year-old general manager of Uber New York, has said it is pained by the grievances of the drivers, who, while not employees of the service, are known as “driver-partners” in the company’s jargon. Like most tech operations, Uber has a data set for everything, and Mr. Mohrer said his numbers proved that January’s price cut, like a steeper one two years ago, increased the demand for rides and therefore led to larger driver paychecks.

“It’s not intuitive to think that lower fares will mean more money, but that is the reality,” Mr. Mohrer said. He added that he understood why the drivers might be anxious. “It’s a big ask to say, ‘Just trust us.’”

And yet there are underlying reasons for the drivers not to trust him. Uber, like other players in the gig economy, has a tenuous relationship with those who make a living from its software. Its drivers — 34,000 in New York — are independent contractors who buy their own cars, pay for gas and maintenance, and provide their own insurance. Although they get no benefits, they remit to Uber 20 to 25 percent of what they make as a fee to use the service. And unlike its competitors like Lyft, Uber does not permit tipping through its app, but it still reserves the right to “deactivate” its drivers, sometimes for little more than a subpar rider rating.

Two years ago, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said in an interview about the company’s plan to field a fleet of driverless vehicles that a reason the service was relatively expensive was that customers were paying for “the other dude in the car.” As the company’s ridership explodes and the investor class anticipates a potential public offering, the drivers say they often feel like just some other dude: a frictional human substance that gets in the way of an idealized experience of seamless digital travel.

“Uber treats its drivers however it wants,” Mr. Diallo said. “But we’re the ones who do everything except provide the technology.”

A former import-export trader who studied for a business degree, Mr. Diallo, 29, has been driving for the company for three years in a $50,000 Chevrolet Suburban. At first, he said, the job was great: He could afford his lease and still make money because he was taking in as much as $5,000 a week.

But in 2014, Uber cut its rates by 20 percent and not long after that it increased its commissions. Last year, it forced new drivers working for its luxury arm, Uber Black, to pick up passengers through its less expensive option, UberX. On top of this, Mr. Diallo claimed that Uber’s aggressive hiring has flooded the city with too many drivers chasing too few fares.

The price cuts last month were the final straw that set off the rebellion. Most of the drivers learned about the change through a company email, whose lack of warning and remoteness were softened by the fact that Uber promised, for a month, to guarantee an hourly wage at pre-cut levels. Within days of the announcement — and despite the guarantees — Mr. Diallo and two other drivers, Fabio Krasniqi and Farrukh Khamdamov, decided on a strike. Calling themselves the Uber Drivers Network, they created a Facebook page, designed a flier and paid for nearly 20,000 copies at a print shop near La Guardia.

“People can’t make a living,” Mr. Diallo said on the phone after a meeting to coordinate the New York actions with others in London and San Francisco. “They’re picking up $8 fares. They’re driving their cars into the ground. Collectively, there’s a lot of money coming in, but no one individual is making much.

“It’s gotten to the point,” he said, “where it’s literally unbearable.”

Uber likes to say that its drivers, not its riders, are its customers. And while the company might not give its customers health care or a pension, it does provide them access to high-tech support centers, modeled on Apple’s Genius Bars, where they can ask questions about commercial licenses, receive free medical exams or get a can of soda. Uber also helps its drivers negotiate leases with car dealers.

The conflict over the price cuts has been especially vexing for the company, which is adamant that the lower rates have been a boon to both the drivers and its own bottom line. Shortly after the strikers wrote to Uber, Mr. Kalanick posted a memo onto his Facebook page showing that the previous cuts had increased the average driver’s gross hourly wages from $28 to $37. On Tuesday, Mr. Mohrer released numbers indicating that from the three weeks before the last round of cuts to the three weeks after, drivers’ wages went up by 17 percent.

Uber also disputes the claim that there are too many drivers in New York. There are still more taxi riders that the company could woo, and, according to Mr. Mohrer, after the recent cuts were made, trips in the Bronx and Queens, where many drivers live, went up by nearly 25 percent.

But if all this data has the weight of scripture for Uber executives, it has been less persuasive to the drivers, who say the statistics do not fully describe the experience of working for the company. Though lower prices might increase their workload and thus their gross, they say, the increased revenue will be eroded by a corresponding increase in expenses.

At the Super Bowl rally, a driver named Mustafa, who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals from Uber, said he expected to make about $40 an hour after the cuts. But that was before he paid for higher costs of maintenance, gas and washes; for his car lease, insurance and sales and income taxes; for emissions inspections and the 2.5 percent of earnings he gives each year to the Black Car Fund, a drivers’ trade group, for workers’ compensation; and, of course, for his commissions.

“When you put it together, the numbers don’t add up,” Mustafa said. “I’m taking home less than minimum wage.”
And beyond money, culture matters, too, the drivers say. Some mentioned a photograph that Mr. Mohrer posted on Twitter during his early days at Uber, which showed him smiling with Mr. Kalanick above a message that read, “Jamming with @travisk and plotting city domination.” Others pointed to their own support of Uber this summer when the company went to war with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wanted to cap its growth, ostensibly to lessen road congestion. During the fight, which it won when Mr. de Blasio dropped his plan for the cap, Uber mobilized millions of dollars and an all-star team of political tacticians, but it also made use of the sympathetic image of hard-working immigrants telling City Hall that Uber put food on the table for their families.

“We stood behind them,” said Ronnie Paulino, a driver who has worked for Uber for a year. “Then they turned around and cut our pay.”

After speaking this month to an economics class at New York University, Mr. Mohrer acknowledged that when he first came to Uber, there were fewer drivers and stronger bonds between them and his management team. But as the fleet has grown, he said, he has tried to remain responsive to the drivers, who, on average, work 30 hours a week — or triple the rate of their peers in smaller cities.

“They’re more vested and engaged in Uber, so we take a more careful approach here,” Mr. Mohrer said. He added: “It’s a deeper relationship.”

But deeper doesn’t necessarily mean easier. A few weeks ago, Mr. Mohrer met with the leaders of the strikes at his office on West 27th Street in Chelsea’s gallery district. He said they had a frank discussion about the rate cuts, which could be rescinded if the cuts do not achieve their goals. While he was not explicit about what those goals might be, he insisted that the conversation had been useful. “I want to do this regularly,” he said. “Giving drivers the opportunity to speak to me and my staff can result in more rapid change.”

The strikers found the meeting less successful. “It was a joke,” Mr. Diallo said. “They treated us like jokers.” From his perspective, Mr. Mohrer offered no concessions on the cuts and was firm on only one position: that there would never be a tipping option on Uber’s app.

And that was the message Mr. Krasniqi delivered to the crowd in Queens on Super Bowl Sunday. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he reported on the meeting, then told the drivers to call their friends and relatives who also worked for Uber and urge them to stop driving.

“That’s how we built them up — with our friends and families,” Mr. Krasniqi roared. “And if we built them up, we can destroy them!”

It is hard to tell at this point just how serious the threat to Uber from sustained unrest would be. The challenges of organizing a work force composed of men and women of disparate ethnicities and languages loosely connected by a cloud-based app are significant. “If the drivers can come together in a block causing problems, they might get something,” said Evan Rawley, a professor of strategy at the Columbia Business School who studies the taxi industry. “But this is not West Virginia coal miners who all grew up together in the same small town.”

Uber has been somewhat clumsy in dealing with the problems with its fleet. In a stroke of unfortunate timing, Wired magazine published a 3,000-word treatise on Uber’s new corporate logo one day after the drivers went on strike outside its New York office. It was an inadvertent study in tech-world navel-gazing: as hundreds of immigrants were splashed across the Internet attacking Uber, Wired described how Mr. Kalanick had been working for two years on the logo, immersing himself in organic color schemes and kerning.

There is a potential wild card: Class-action lawsuits have been filed against Uber, including in the federal courts in Brooklyn and San Francisco, which seek to make the drivers full employees. If the suits are successful, they could cripple Uber’s business model, though some legal experts have said they are skeptical that the drivers could prevail when they use their own vehicles, and decide themselves when and whether to pick up passengers.

That leaves the traditional route of union organizing, which, in the case of the strikers in New York, has become chaotic. About a year ago, the Uber Drivers Network approached Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, one of whose organizers has been helping them plan rallies and collect union cards. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group for yellow cabdrivers, claims to have signed up nearly 5,000 Uber drivers in the city. And on Feb. 2, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1430, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking to represent another 600 Uber drivers who work at La Guardia.

Mr. Diallo and his team have been working on a secret weapon: a driver-owned app to compete with those from Lyft and Uber, those from other ride-hailing companies like Gett and Via, and the taxi industry’s own two e-hailing systems, Way2Ride and Arro. The drivers designed the app themselves and have hired a company called Swift Technologies to build it. It could be ready as early as next month.

“The solution is not to stay with Uber,” Mr. Diallo said. “The solution is to have our own platform — to build a real partnership and really be partners.”

For now, however, they are still planning strikes, even if the one on Super Bowl Sunday was of questionable effectiveness. The drivers celebrated the action on their Facebook page, posting a screen shot of Uber’s app that night — accompanied by the hashtag #SHUTDOWNSUPERBOWL — that showed a wait time at Kennedy Airport of 72 minutes.

But the very next morning, Uber sent an email to its drivers announcing that the day before, it had broken its record for the most trips on a Sunday.

“Thanks to you, our driver-partners,” the email read, “hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers moved safely around the city this weekend.”

photo credit: nationofachange.com

New Yorkers Blow through Red Lights at Alarming Rates

While Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Vision Zero plan has implemented more than 150 red light cameras and brought in $16.9 Million in revenue from camera tickets, studies reveal that NYC drivers continue to rush past the red light 10 percent of the time.

Still, it’s easy to speed past a red light sometimes. The yellow light changes too quickly, or you find yourself already passing the light before realizing that it has changed.  Regardless of how it happened, red light tickets carry costly fines and can contribute to an increase in the cost of your insurance.  A camera ticket is different from a ticket issued directly by the police officer.  A camera ticket has no points, but a ticket issued by an officer does.

Camera Ticket
If your car is photographed running a red light on camera, you will receive a NOL—Notice of Liability.  You may fight the red light camera charges within 30 days.  If you plead guilty, you will be required to pay a fine of at least $50 (not including surcharges).  You will not receive points for these tickets and they will not be reported to your insurance company.  A red light ticket issued by a police officer is different.

Ticket Issued by a Police Officer
If a police officer issues the red light ticket, then your offense will be categorized as a traffic infraction and your conviction will result in 3 points on your license as well as a likely increase in your insurance premium.  The cost of an NYC Red light ticket, issued by a police officer is as follows:

● $190 minimum (plus surcharge) for the first offense (in an 18 month period).
●  $375 minimum (plus surcharge) for the second offense (in an 18 month time period).
● $940 minimum (plus surcharge) for the third offense (in an 18 month time period).

Always remember that if you receive 11 points in an 18 month period your New York driver’s license may be suspended.  Drive carefully and give us a call at
(212) 227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for help with any traffic tickets or moving violations.

US Attorney General’s Daughter Arrested after Failure to Pay Her Uber-T Fare in Brooklyn

The stepdaughter of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch found herself in trouble with the law after failing to pay a cab driver in Brooklyn, police sources said Sunday.

Kia Absalom was taken into police custody and placed in a holding cell at the 69th Precinct stationhouse in Canarsie after she couldn’t cover her $20 fare about 3:30 p.m. last Monday, according to police sources.

Hassan Almaweri drove the cab that Kia Absalom, stepdaughter to U.S. Attoney for New York Loretta Lynch, allegedly couldn’t pay for.

Hassan Almaweri drove the cab that Kia Absalom, stepdaughter to U.S. Attoney for New York Loretta Lynch, allegedly couldn’t pay for.

The cabbie, Hassan Almaweri, 58, said Absalom, 21, told him she thought she’d paid with an app and didn’t have cash.

 

“I asked her to pay me,” Almaweri told the Daily News.

“She said, ‘No, I paid by the app.’”

“What do you mean, the app?” Almaweri says he responded.

 

Almaweri is a taxi driver signed up for UberT — Uber’s taxi hail option, according to a spokesperson for the app. For a $2 fee, riders can use Uber to book a yellow or green cab and then pay with cash or credit, not through the app.

Absalom, whose father, Stephen Hargrove, married Lynch in 2007, said she didn’t have any credit cards on hand but had credit card numbers, which the driver refused to accept, police sources said.

“So I drive her to the police station,” Almaweri said. “I go to the police and say, ‘This lady doesn’t want to pay me.’”

A sergeant who was involved with the dispute said Absalom never made mention of her relationship to Lynch.

After Absalom was placed in a cell, her boyfriend came and paid the fare, the cabbie and police sources said. Police voided the arrest, and Absalom was released without ever being fingerprinted or processed, sources said.

Later that day, a lieutenant at the precinct notified the department of the arrest and an internal review was launched, police sources said.

The cabbie, Hassan Almaweri, 58, said Absalom, 21, told him she thought she’d paid with an app and didn’t have cash.

The cabbie, Hassan Almaweri, 58, said Absalom, 21, told him she thought she’d paid with an app and didn’t have cash.

On Thursday, Absalom’s father, along with FBI agent John Robison, visited the precinct to make sure that Absalom didn’t get preferential treatment and that the incident was handled properly, sources said. They even verified that Absalom’s shoelaces were removed after she was placed in a cell, just like anybody else in custody, sources said.

Lynch was sworn in as attorney general in April.

Article Originally Featured on NY Daily News

*Photo Credit: “Loretta E. Lynch Addresses the CERD Committee” By: United States Geneva’s Photostream/Source: Flickr

NY Traffic Ticket Lawyer|2 Point Disobey Device Reduced to 0 Points in Nassau

Another happy client had 2 points dismissed on a disobey traffic device reduced to 0 points in Nassau County!

The law defines disobeying a traffic control device as violating any sign, marking, or device (placed by authority) that regulates, warns and guides traffic.  This means that disobeying any marking on the pavement and any traffic signs (such as a STOP or YIELD) are considered a “traffic device” offense.  The fine for disobeying a traffic control device starts at $138 in New York City.

If you are ticketed for disobeying a traffic device, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  A  Disobey Traffic Device lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.  We always work for the best possible outcome.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

  1. shaquana brent  |  

    Hi, need a lawyer, pulled over or driving without insurance. I just need this ticket reduced, so i cman get this job with mta.

Speeding Man in Long Island had License Suspended 88 Times

If the first 88 times you don’t succeed…

Suffolk police busted a Pennsylvania man speeding through the Long Island Expressway on Sunday afternoon, after the driver was zooming at 86 mph.

When cops pulled over the speed demon, he gave the officers his Pennsylvania license, in an attempt to hide his litany of driving misdeeds, officers said.

Police learned that Eric Dunbar, 43, racked up 88 suspensions on his New York State license on 25 different occasions after trying to dodge traffic tickets, records showed.

Dunbar, of Tafton, Pa., amassed a series of license suspensions through multiple charges per ticket, Suffolk police told the Daily News.

He was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speeding and unlawfully having more than one unexpired driver’s license.

He is expected to be arraigned at the First District Court in Central Islip on Monday.

 

Article Originally Featured on the NY Daily News

*Photo Credit: “Speed of Sound” By: Ana Paticia Almeida/Source: Flickr

 

GM Invests $500 Million on Lyft while Planning Self-Driving Car Network

–General Motors Co. will invest $500 million in Lyft Inc., giving the hailing startup a valuation of $5.5 billion and a major ally in the global battle against Uber Technologies Inc.–

The investment, part of a $1 billion financing round for Lyft, is the biggest move by an automaker to date when it comes to grappling with the meteoric rise of the ride-hailing industry.

GM and Lyft said they will work together to develop a network of self-driving cars that riders can call up on-demand, a vision of the future shared by the likes of Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. More immediately, America’s largest automaker will offer Lyft drivers vehicles for short-term rent through various hubs in U.S. cities, the companies said in separate statements on Monday.

GM President Dan Ammann, who is joining Lyft’s board as part of the deal, expects the automotive industry to “change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50 and we obviously want to make sure we’re at the forefront of that change.”

Global Alliance

Ammann called the investment an “alliance” with Lyft. Rather than stay neutral in the battle between Uber and Lyft, GM invested because of the “level of integration and cooperation that will be required, particularly for the longer term nature of this,” he said in a phone interview.

Uber’s Kalanick, whose company has been investing aggressively in self-driving cars, has said that it could take between 5 and 15 years before such vehicles are meaningfully deployed around the country.

GM is open to working with some of Lyft’s international partners, which include Didi Kuaidi in China, Ola in India and GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, Ammann said.

“We certainly see an opportunity to work together through those relationships,” Ammann said. “The U.S. is our home market and it continues to be our largest market and we think this is the right place to begin the journey.”

The partnership is a blow for Uber, which has fought to overwhelm Lyft, its only substantial U.S. competitor. Sidecar, another American rival, announced in December that it would shut its network.

Uber has raised more than $10 billion in financing and is spending aggressively to grow. Its last round of financing valued the company at $62.5 billion.

Doubling Financing

Ford Motor Co. is experimenting with its own ride-sharing initiatives: the company last year started offering a network of shared cars in London to tap the growing market for on-demand driving. Fontinalis Partners LLC, the venture firm funded by Ford family heir Bill Ford, has previously invested in Lyft.

Lyft’s latest financing round nearly doubles the three-year-old startup’s total financing. Since 2013, Lyft has raised more than $2 billion, the company said. Bloomberg previously reported that Lyft had filed to raise $1 billion as part of this financing round. Its latest $5.5 billion valuation is post-money, meaning it includes the value from raising its latest $1 billion.

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. invested $100 million as part of the round and existing investors Janus Capital Management, Rakuten Inc., Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. also participated, according to the statement.

Lyft lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue, according to fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg. It said in November it has gained share in key markets such as San Francisco, and has a gross revenue “run rate” of $1 billion. Lyft has said it’s operating in more than 190 cities.

Article Originally Featured on Bloomberg Business

*Photo Credit: “LYFT” By: Alfredo Mendez

Drunken Female Real Estate Agent Stole Yellow Cab in Manhattan

A drunken female real estate agent swiped a taxi when the cabby stopped at a Manhattan police station to report her boozed-up misbehavior — grabbing the wheel and taking off as he spoke to cops inside, authorities say.

Kinga Tabares, 27, who works for the Douglas Elliman agency, acted so wildly during the ride in the wee hours of Nov. 13 — even allegedly refusing to pay — that cabby Ronald Desir took her and a pal to the 13th Precinct station house, sources said Tuesday.

The 50-year-old driver picked up the women at Washington and Little West 12th streets, but their boozy buffoonery forced him to make the pit stop at the East 21st Street station house, according to the sources.

Tabares “was so drunk, she didn’t know where she was going,” Desir told The Post, adding that her friend was the “normal” one of the two.

While he was inside the station house asking for help, Tabares allegedly got in the driver’s seat and drove off.

“When I came back outside, they were taking off,” Desir said. When cops caught Tabares in Chelsea, she was vomiting out the driver’s window, the sources said.

The broker was charged with grand larceny, unauthorized use of a vehicle and DWI.

She was taken into custody and transported to Bellevue Hospital, where she allegedly refused to take a breath test.

When asked by The Post about the bust, Tabares — who is also taking classes at NYU — claimed that details about her stealing the cab were “completely false” and that “there’s more to this story.”

“I’m not speaking about it until there’s further investigation,” she said.

Tabares’ lawyer, Sean Parmenter, refused to comment any further and added that he was still looking into the case.

Article Originally Featured on the New York Post

*Photo Credit: NYC Taxi by Vinoth Chandar/Source: Flickr

2 Point Disobey Device and Aggravated Unlicensed Reduced to 0 Point Violation in Rockland County

Another happy client had 2 points dismissed on a disobey traffic device and no criminal charges for aggravated driving unlicensed!

The law defines disobeying a traffic control device as violating any sign, marking, or device (placed by authority) that regulates, warns and guides traffic.  This means that disobeying any marking on the pavement and any traffic signs (such as a STOP or YIELD) are considered a “traffic device” offense.  The fine for disobeying a traffic control device starts at $138 in New York City.

Aggravated Driving Unlicensed carries no points but is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense.  If you are pulled over by a police officer for a traffic violation, such as speeding, and the police officer realizes that your license is suspended or revoked, you can be charged for aggravated driving unlicensed.   In our client’s case, we were able to reduce the misdemeanor to a no-point traffic violation.  As a result, our client has no points and no criminal record!

If you are ticketed for disobeying a traffic device or have an aggravated unlicensed violation, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  A  Disobey Traffic Device lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.  We always work for the best possible outcome.

 We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

A New York Woman Says Her Body is a Brewery, and Beats Drunk Driving Charges

A New York judge has dismissed a drunk driving charge against a woman who took steps to prove her body works as a brewery, using excess intestinal yeast to turn ordinary food into alcohol, resulting in breathalyzer readouts that generally would indicate life-threatening intoxication.

The excuse may sound bogus, but The Buffalo News reports elected Hamburg town Judge Walter Rooth found the woman’s claim compelling after she spent $7,000 working with a specialist to show her body sometimes meets the legal definition of drunkenness without actual alcohol intake.

“I would say it is not safe to drive a car if you are in an auto brewery syndrome flare,” Dr. Anup Kanodia of Ohio, an auto-brewery syndrome expert who monitored and tested the woman, told the News. “But it’s a brand new disease and we’re still trying to understand it.”

Kanodia told the paper, which did not name the woman, that he believes between 50 and 100 people have been diagnosed with the disorder, and that it’s likely upward of 95 percent of sufferers don’t know they have the condition.

Rooth dismissed the charges Dec. 9, but his decision has been slow to attract news coverage. The local prosecutor’s office plans to appeal Rooth’s decision, The News reports.

Spokespeople for the judge and the head of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office’s drunk driving division did not immediately return U.S. News requests for comment.

Flare-ups of Auto-Brewery Syndrome evidently are triggered in part by diets high in carbohydrates. Kanodia said he advised the woman to eat differently, alleviating her symptoms.

Though not widely known, the syndrome is beginning to attract media attention, with sufferers reporting bouts of goofiness after eating french fries and false accusations of alcoholism.

The BBC reported earlier this year that the condition may be connected to long-term antibiotic use and in at least two other cases appears to have been treated successfully with anti-fungal drugs and reduced consumption of carbohydrates and sugar.

The New York woman who shed — at least temporarily — her drunk driving charge is a 35-year-old teacher. Last year, she was arrested after a 911 tipster reported she was weaving. She reportedly was found driving on a flat tire with “glassy-bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.” She said she had three cocktails, but a breathalyzer found her blood alcohol content was .33 percent.

“Her tire was flat, and she felt she was close enough to home that she could drive the rest of the way,” the woman’s attorney, Joseph Marusak, told The News. “She can register a blood alcohol content that would have you or I falling down drunk, but she can function.”

Article Originally Featured on US News

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

Uber May Expand to Upstate NY: Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse

Lawmakers returning to Albany for the usual debates over taxes and spending will also take on an issue even more basic to many New Yorkers — the options for getting home from the train station, the airport or a long night out on the town.

Uber is hoping lawmakers approve statewide regulations during the 2016 legislative session that will allow the app-based ride-hailing service to expand into upstate cities including Buffalo, Albany, Rochester and Syracuse.

The service is now legally permitted to operate only in the immediate New York City area. The company, whose smartphone-based service allows users to quickly order car service, has expanded rapidly throughout the country in recent years. Josh Mohrer, Uber’s New York general manager, said rules allowing Uber to operate have been passed in 27 states.

“People really want this, being able to push a button and get a ride,” he said. “Buffalo is now the largest American city by population that doesn’t have Uber. My goal is to go where we’re not.”

The company has assembled a large coalition of local mayors, drunken driving activists, state lawmakers and even clergy who support the expansion. Aside from a new transportation alternative, Uber promises to create thousands of flexible driving jobs throughout upstate.

But the taxi companies aren’t giving up without a fight. The industry warns that Uber’s expansion will threaten the jobs of dispatch operators and other back-room employees who aren’t necessary for Uber’s web-based business model. They’ve also questioned the effectiveness of background checks on Uber drivers and said the company’s vehicles are required to be accessible for the disabled.

Bill Yuhnke, president of Buffalo’s Liberty Yellow Cab, said Uber doesn’t want to abide by the same rules — taxes, fare regulations, insurance — that have long applied to the taxi industry. He noted his company has long offered an app that allows riders to order a car.

“It’s not a level playing field. If they played by the same rules I wouldn’t have any problem,” he said, noting that Uber sets its own fares while taxi fares are closely regulated. “You can’t be half pregnant. You’re either a taxi or not. We’ve been doing this for years. We have standards in place.”

Lawmakers are expected to consider various options that would allow Uber — and rival Lyft — to expand throughout the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in October that he is in favor of a statewide licensing system.

“You can’t do Uber city by city,” he said.

Syracuse-area resident Donna Keeping hopes to be one of Uber’s first upstate drivers. The 61-year-old already has a job at a hospital but said driving for Uber part-time could help her cover college tuition for her children. Uber drivers are responsible for maintaining their own vehicles but get to set their own hours, an idea that appeals to Keeping.

“I haven’t found the right scenario for work,” she said. “I’m social. I love to drive. I’m ready to roll as soon I can.”

New York City taxi driver Ayman Ahmed said Uber may be a good fit for people looking for part-time work, but not for full-time taxi drivers. Ahmed left the taxi business to drive for Uber for six weeks, only to find it a disappointment. He said it doesn’t pay as well as driving a cab.

“Uber hires anyone. It might work if you need a few hours. But this is the only job I have,” he said. “I have rent, kids, a wife.”

Article Originally Featured on NY Daily News

*Photo Credit: “An UBER application is shown as cars drive by in Washington, DC. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)” By Mark Warner/Source: Flickr

NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer | How to Avoid Traffic this Christmas

A record-breaking 100 million Americans are expected to travel over the four-day Christmas holiday period, and Christmas Eve will be the worst day to travel in New York City.

The lowest gas prices since 2009 and a stronger economy are fueling the surge of people traveling 50 miles or more during the holiday, according to AAA.

The worst day to drive in New York City over the holidays will be Thursday, according to data from the smartphone app Waze.

The company relies on crowdsourced information from drivers, and is used by 1.9 million motorists in New York City, as well as 50 million people nationally. It also shares information from the NYPD on road closures for major events.

On top of congestion on Christmas Eve, there is a 42% increase in car crashes, and an almost 30% boost in hazard reports in New York City compared with an average from the two weeks before the holidays and after, the company’s data shows.

Hazards locally include potholes, vehicles stopped on the road, construction, and objects on the road such as a tree branch or fallen sign.

Nationally, the worst day to travel during the week of Christmas is Wednesday, Waze says. Drivers typically hit the roads for holiday travel around 11 a.m. Congestion peaks that afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m. as more motorists leave work for holiday travel.

Sunday — the end of the holiday weekend — is also a nightmare on the roads, with a combination of heavy traffic congestion, traffic crashes, and other police alerts.

If drivers can take Monday off from work, it’s a much smoother day to drive home.

Flyers can also expect New York City metropolitan area airports to be mobbed. Between Dec. 17 and Jan. 1, almost 6 million passengers will fly through the JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports.

JFK will see 2.5 million flyers, and 1.6 million people will travel through LaGuardia. Another 1.7 million will fly to or from Newark.

Airfares are down 6%, an average of $174 a flight roundtrip compared with last year, according to AAA. Hotel and car rental prices are up, however.

More than 90% of Americans who take trips will drive, or more than 91 million people. AAA says they expect almost a million drivers will be stranded and call the association for help, due to flat tires, dead batteries, and motorists locked out of their cars.

Another 5.8 million people will fly, and 3.5 million travelers will take buses, trains, and cruises.

Article Originally Featured on AM New York

*Photo Credit: “Northbound I-405 rush hour” By: Oran Viryincy/(Source: Flickr)

 

NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer| Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance is illegal in all 50 states.  It’s a serious offense with severe consequences.  There are still many drivers that drive without insurance everyday.  Driving without insurance is illegal because insurance helps cover the cost associated with an accident.  If you are involved in an accident, then insurance compensates drivers for damage done to their vehicles, medical bills, and possible lost wages.  If you’ve received a summons for driving without insurance, here’s what you need to know.

Fines and Penalties

If a police officer pulls you over and you are not properly insured, you might face heavy fines and possible jail time.  In New York operating a vehicle without insurance can result in 15 days of possible jail time and up to $1,500 in fines.  Your license may also be revoked for a year if you are found guilty.

If a police officer asks for proof of insurance and you fail to present them with one, then it is assumed that your vehicle is not insured.  Even worse, if you’re caught without insurance after an accident, then the driver can sue you personally for the damages involved.

What to do

If you receive a summons for driving without insurance, and you are actually insured then a lawyer may help you avoid unnecessary fines and possible license suspension.  Contact Michael Block at (212) 227-9008 or email MichaelBlock.Law@gmail.com with any questions.

*Photo Credit: “New York State Police Traffic Stop” By: dwightsghost

NY Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Crackdown on Drunk Driving Starts Today

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — State troopers and law enforcement across the state will be taking part in this year’s national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which begins Friday and runs through New Year’s Day.

Motorists will notice more patrols along highways and sobriety checkpoints during the campaign, state police said. Those are paid for by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Troopers will be using marked and unmarked vehicles to curb distracted driving, seat belt violations and people violating the Move Over Law.

“Traffic safety will be a top priority this holiday season,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said. “If you’re celebrating, please do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive, and if you are drinking, designate a sober driver or plan ahead for a ride home.”

Last year troopers issued more than 49,000 tickets during the crackdown. That included 17,000 tickets for speeding, 1,700 for distracted driving and about 700 for Move Over Law violations.

State police said more than 700 people were arrested for DWI and 13 people were killed in car accidents.

The state police offered the following advice to motorists during the holidays:

–Plan a safe way home before the celebrating begins
–Before drinking, designate a sober driver
–If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation
–Use your community’s sober ride program
–If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact police
–If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements

Article Originally Featured on Syracuse.com

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Cell phone use increases in drivers despite risk and law enforcement

Every year thousands of Americans die in accidents caused by distracted driving.

And while a new survey found that most people know texting and checking email behind the wheel is dangerous, a growing number do it anyway.

Steff Demaya engaged with a cellphone on the road, and now she is learning how to walk all over again.

“That’s where they cut it,” she said.

Her leg was injured and later amputated after she crashed her car. She admitted that she was distracted, and reaching for her ringing cell phone.

“I reached down to grab it on the floor board, just that quick,” she said.

Even though many drivers recognize how distracting cell phones can be behind the wheel, and support measures to crackdown on using them, new data shows that the problem is only getting worse.

“If you know this to be distracting, why are you doing it? These additional activities are troubling,” said Chris Mullen director of technology research at State Farm.

A new State Farm survey found the number of people texting while driving has remained relatively stable since 2009, but it found that more than twice as many drivers surf the internet. Reading emails and checking social media accounts while driving are also up.

A Colorado man has created a device that could stop the problem. It’s called The Groove, it’s a small box that plugs into almost any modern car.

The Groove blocks the driver’s phone from sending or receiving data. Phone calls will go through, but no texts, emails, or social media. The system won’t deliver them until the car is turned off.

It also means that mobile networks need to cooperate, something that, despite years of successful testing and demonstrations hasn’t happened.

“You cannot imagine how frustrating it’s been. And I can’t watch the public service announcements because we’re standing on something that can stop that. It’s hard to watch them and know that you’re in the middle of something and you want it to be out there,” Scott Tibbitts said. “Being a parent, I cannot imagine getting a phone call that says there’s been an accident.”

While mobile companies may be hesitant to work with the device, its creators said it works with any phone and any car made after 1996.

Groove does not require an app.

While 98 percent of drivers surveyed believe that texting while driving is dangerous, 66 percent admit to doing it.

Article Originally Featured on CBS New York

*Photo Credit: “texting and driving” By: frankieleon/Source: Flickr

Me dieron un ticket por usar el celular. ¿Qué hago?

Si usted usa su celular para mandar un texto, buscar direcciones, o hablar, le pueden dar una multa.  La ley  § 1225-d dice que si el teléfono esta en las manos del chofer, y el chofer está usando el celular, puede ser multado.  Aquí están los pasos que debe tomar para pelear el ticket y evadir los puntos en su licencia.

  • Recaude la Evidencia

Muchas veces es difícil comprobar que usted no estaba usando el celular.  El chofer puede pedir datos detallados de su compañía de teléfono para comprobar que no estaba usando el celular al momento que el policía le dio la multa.

  • Puntos en Su Licencia

El ticket de usar el celular en Nueva York tiene 5 puntos.  Puntos adicionales en su licencia alzan el precio de su seguro y lo ponen a riesgo de suspensión.  Es importante recordar que si usted recibe 11 puntos en un periodo de 6 meses, le van a suspender la licencia.

  • El Costo

La multa por usar el celular cuesta entre $50 y $400 dependiendo de la gravedad de la ofensa o la frecuencia de la ofensa—-  Además de la multa y puntos en su licencia, el costo de su seguro también puede aumentar.

  • ¡Cuidado con los Policías!

Puede que usted sienta la necesidad de hablar con el policía sobre su multa pero le recomendamos que no hable.   Sea respetuoso y obedezca las instrucciones del oficial.  Los policías toman nota sobre las conversaciones que tienen con choferes y pueden usar lo que usted dice en contra de usted cuando pelea la violación en la corte.

  • Estamos aquí para ayudarle

Si usted recibe un ticket por usar el celular o cualquier otra violación de transito llámenos al (212) 227-9008 o contáctenos por email a michaelblock.law@gmail.com para más información.

*Photo Credit: “This is My Father” by Bradely Gordon/Source: Flickr

New York City Crackdown on Speeding, Cellphones and Failure to Yield to Pedestrians

The New York Police Department said on Monday that it was cracking down on motorists this week in areas frequented by older adults, an announcement that came out the same day a 62-year-old woman was fatally struck by a city bus in Brooklyn.

The initiative follows a string of fatal collisions involving pedestrians and motorists in the past two months.

Police officers will target drivers who commit moving violations like speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians near senior centers during times when there are large numbers of people in those areas, officials said in an advisory distributed to members of the news media. The effort, called the Holiday Pedestrian Safety Initiative, began Monday and is expected to run until Sunday, according to the advisory.

The enforcement initiative focuses on seven moving violations outlined under Vision Zero, the mayor’s plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities in the city. Other offenses include improper turns, texting or using a phone while driving, and traffic signal violations.

The initiative aims to “prevent injuries and create a safe environment,” the police said.

Traffic fatalities have fallen from 244 around this time in 2014 to 217 this year, a decrease of about 11 percent, according to figures provided by the Police Department. Pedestrian fatalities have fallen more modestly, from 128 to 122 in the same period, about a 5 percent change, the police said.

The police said the woman killed on Monday, Eleonora Shulkina, was crossing East 17th Street in Sheepshead Bay when she was hit by a B36 bus making a left turn off Avenue Z. The driver remained at the scene and was not arrested as the police continued their investigation on Monday.

Her death follows a series of fatal accidents involving older pedestrians in New York. On Dec. 2, Liana Platika, 84, was fatally struck by a garbage truck at 58th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan. Bella Markowitz, 85, died the same day, two days after she was critically injured by a driver making a left turn at East 16th Street and Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

In both cases, the drivers remained at the scene or were found nearby. Neither was arrested or issued a summons, the police said on Monday.

 

*Article Originally Featured on The New York Times

*Photo Credit: “NYPD” By: Giacomo Barbaro/Source: Flickr

NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Failure to Yield to Emergency Vehicle Ticket

The “move over” law was established in 2011 to require all vehicles in multi-lane roads to move over for police or emergency vehicles.  If any emergency vehicle is stopped, parked or standing while displaying flashing lights drivers are required to slow down and carefully switch lanes.  If you are on a single lane road, you are required to slow down and use caution.  Failure to switch lanes or slow down can result in a “failure to yield to an emergency vehicle summons” with 3 points and $150 fine.

If you received a summons for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle or any other traffic ticket, we can fight for you.  With more than 29 years of experience, Michael Block has successfully defended motorists throughout New York.  Call (212) 227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for free advice.

*Photo Credit: “Get Out!” By: Michael Gil/Source: Flickr 

NY Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Following Too Closely (Tailgating) Ticket

following too closely

In New York, the Following Too Closely summons, also known as tailgating, is 4 points a fine of at least $138 for a first offense.  The police officer uses his or her judgment to deem when another vehicle is driving too closely to the vehicle ahead of them.  Following too closely is considered a dangerous offense because any sudden changes on the road could cause an accident.

New York VTL § 1129 states that a motorist not follow another vehicle more closely than what is “reasonable and prudent.” To determine how far to follow another vehicle, the motorist must take into consideration the speed, traffic, and condition of the highway. There are special rules for truckers: they must, when following another truck or passenger vehicle, leave enough space so that a passing vehicle can enter and occupy the space without danger.

If you received a summons for following too closely or any other traffic ticket, we can fight for you.  With more than 29 years of experience, Michael Block has successfully defended motorists throughout New York.  Call (212) 227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for free legal advice.

NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Meet Delancey Car Service

Delancey Car Services - New York, NY, United States

We have worked closely with Delancey Car Service for about 10 years.  Many of their drivers bring their tickets to Michael when they need a trusted lawyer to defend their traffic tickets.

Delancey has been in service since 1991.  The owner, Rafael, tells us that their fleet started out small with only 5 cars but has grown exponentially over the years.  They now have about 200 drivers.

Over the years, their technology has also changed.  While many of their clients still call in to request a cab, some of their clients make a reservation online. Their website also makes it possible for clients to pay and specify specific needs or requirements that they may have.  They are currently working on a mobile app that should be available within a year.

Delancey strives for professionalism and offering the best service to their customers.  You can reach them at (212) 228-3301 or visit their website at delanceynyc.com for more information.

*If you know of a cab company that would like to be featured, call us at (212) 227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com with your request.

New Technology and Apps Shaping the Way We Hail a Cab

Hailing a cab in the city is officially high-tech, and these are the apps that are currently being ushered.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a yearlong pilot program to let New Yorkers hail one of the city’s more than 13,000 yellow cabs from their smartphones, the first time anything other than street hails will be allowed. Similar programs have existed in cities around the world and across the United States.

Most of the apps follow the same general format: The app will use your phone’s GPS to find you or you enter an address; you then tell it to ping nearby cabbies; and then a driver in the area who gets the request will come pick you up. Most of the apps allow live GPS tracking of the driver, as well as automatic payments (in addition to cash).

The drivers need to have the cabbie version of the apps activated for them to work.

“It’s the TLC’s job to represent passengers, and when new technology comes along, we want to make sure it’s available to them,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said when the program was approved. “New York City is known for embracing innovation, and we’ve certainly done that today.”

Traditional caller and dispatch cab companies have also had to make some changes throughout the years.  Rafael, owner of Delancey Car Service for over 30 years, informed us that they have had to incorporate new technologies as.  Their current website allows clients to schedule a cab pick-up or drop-off.  On the site they’re also able to pay and specify specific needs or requirements that a cab company may have.  They are currently working on a mobile app that should be available within a year.

Here are four of the apps that will launch or have already launched:

  • Hailo

One of the biggest international cab-hailing apps, Hailo has enormous footprints in London, Toronto, Tokyo, Ireland and other locations. It was started by three London cabbies and three entrepreneurs, and launched in the United States in October in Boston, followed by Chicago in November.

Founder Jay Bregman said the city took a “huge step in the right direction” by allowing smartphone hails.

“The market is really inefficient; people find it difficult to get a taxi,” he said. “We create efficiency. . . . We want to bring the tech we know to help solve some of the fundamental problems.”

Technology: iOS apps you need right now

 He added: “It’s really just the natural evolution of a hail.”

Price: Riders pay $1.50 per hail, more during rush hour

Features: After hailing a cab, you can watch the cab’s progress throughout the city in real time; users can enable automatic payments so they can jump out of the cab when they reach their destination.

Platforms: iPhone, Android

 

  • Uber

Uber has become the best-known name in the country for its car services, and has launched in dozens of cities including Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. Its app has already been active for livery cabs in New York for some time, but faced trouble when it launched a hailing program for yellow cabs in September, which it shut down after about a month.

Still, Uber’s reach is undeniable, and its already massive foothold in the city gives it a leg up on competitors.

“Only Uber has a proven record in New York City, successfully connecting drivers and riders thousands of times and delivering more money for drivers,” spokesman Stu Loeser said.

Price: Unconfirmed, but in the ballpark of $1.50 to $2.50 per hail

Features: Has an existing infrastructure in the city with its livery cab service, so if no yellow cabs are available, users can easily get a sedan, town car or SUV; users can keep credit card info on file.

Platforms: iPhone, Android, Web app and SMS

 

  • TaxiMagic

One of the oldest apps in the car-hailing space, TaxiMagic this month is marking its four-year anniversary. Some 25,000 cars in 51 U.S. cities are on its network, including San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and more, making it one of the largest such apps in the country. It has long had its eye on the city, but only now has the chance to swoop in.

“This is just going to be a huge opportunity. New York is the most iconic taxi market in the entire world,” said TaxiMagic spokesman Matt Carrington. “This has become such a hot start-up space with a lot of momentum; we’re just really excited to be able to move in and show off our capabilities.”

TaxiMagic already serves New York with its sister app SedanMagic, which, like Uber, gives it a built-in familiarity with the market.

Technology: Android apps you need now

Price: Unconfirmed, but about $1.50 to $2.50 per hail

Features: Users can submit requests to pre-schedule rides; live GPS taxi-tracking; users can keep credit card info on file.

Platforms: iPhone, Android, Web app, SMS

 

  • GetTaxi

 

A popular international service, GetTaxi is an Israeli-based cab-hailing app that operates in more than dozen cities worldwide, including Moscow, London and a handful of cities in Israel. After launching in February 2010, the app quickly grew, and now it used once every second during peak times.

GetTaxi initially expressed interest in New York City in June, when it submitted a proposal to the TLC to become the city’s official taxi app. Though that ultimately fell through, the app’s chief executive has said the app is ready to be one of the first apps to participate in the program.

Price: Unconfirmed

Features: Estimated time of arrival and distance show in the app in real time; passengers can rate drivers and track previous rides; users can keep credit card info on file.

Platforms: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry

Original Article Featured on Newsday (has been modified for accuracy and a company feature for Delancey Car Service)

*Photo Credit: “An UBER application is shown as cars drive by in Washington, DC. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)” By Mark Warner/Source: Flickr

Suffolk Legislature Approves Payment Plans for Parking Tickets and Traffic Tickets

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — The Suffolk County Legislature has passed a bill creating a payment plan for parking and traffic fines.

The bill, sponsored by Legislator Kara Hahn, D-Setauket, was introduced after lawmakers heard one woman’s nightmare story about how she could not afford to pay a $350 ticket. After a few months, her driver’s license was suspended and she could not get to work, the woman said. And with late fees, the woman was being eventually ordered to pay nearly $500.

“Not everyone out there can come up with $350 right now,” Hahn told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “It just makes sense to allow them to have four months, six months, a year.

“It’s a vicious cycle, and people who live paycheck to paycheck can’t afford it,” Hahn added.

The plan will be available for parking tickets and moving-violation tickets that have been reduced after a hearing.

Article Originally Featured on CBS New York

*Photo Credit: “No Parking Sign in New York” By: Mrs. Gemstone

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: The F.D.R. Drive is Revamped

A few months after moving into Gracie Mansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio approached his transportation commissioner with a question: How do we fix the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive?

An undulating, unloved route along the East River, the F.D.R. Drive has long been known for potholes, slowdowns and backups. “I certainly experienced it constantly,” Mr. de Blasio, who commutes to City Hall from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said on Monday. “It just wasn’t in an acceptable state of repair for the greatest city in the world.”

Now the mayor, along with 150,000 other travelers who take the road each day, is set to enjoy a smoother ride. An $8.5 million revamp of the drive from 125th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge will be completed this week, with city officials billing the achievement as the road’s first end-to-end resurfacing since its completion in 1966.

Mr. de Blasio, at a ceremony on Monday, stood on the safe side of a guardrail as traffic zipped along the drive, rustling his orange windbreaker.

“This was always a bad road in terms of potholes, bumps, etc.,” the mayor said, although he noted that his personal “road from hell” remained the Cross Bronx Expressway, “which is still burned into my memory.”

A onetime Ford Escape enthusiast, now driven around by a police detail, the mayor said he recalled his motoring days fondly. He was also asked if his own travels had helped make the F.D.R. Drive a priority in a new citywide repaving effort.

“I’ve certainly experienced it,” the mayor said. “But, again, we’ve heard complaints about this one for a long, long time.”

Several former aides backed up the mayor’s remarks, recalling that Mr. de Blasio, a heavy BlackBerry user, was so intimately acquainted with the drive’s foibles that he knew the exact points on the route where cellphone signals would cut out.

Often, as he conducted conversations while driving, Mr. de Blasio would interrupt whomever was on the other end of the line to warn that his signal was about to go dead. Moments later, it would.

The F.D.R. Drive, a 9.5-mile route that transitions into the Harlem River Drive above the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, was constructed in piecemeal segments, and jurisdiction over its curves is shared by the city and the state.

The revamp, which began in July and was completed ahead of schedule, was the first attempt to resurface the entire length of the road at once, said Polly Trottenberg, the New York City transportation commissioner. City officials said they planned to resurface major routes in each of the city’s boroughs over several years.

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat who spent much of his early tenure emphasizing a liberal ideology, has been keen of late to refocus on the nuts-and-bolts management side of his job.

On Monday, flanked by Transportation Department workers, the mayor described road repairs as “exactly what government should be focused on,” and noted that Staten Island residents in particular had asked him to focus on fixing streets.

The mayor also described some of his personal contributions to the process.

“I like to give Polly reports from where I am around the city of what I’m seeing, and I certainly call her when I hit the bump in the road,” Mr. de Blasio said. “I tell her exactly where it is, so she can follow up.”

 

Article Originally Featured on The New York Times

*Photo Credit: FDR Drive –  New York City, New York/Source: Flickr

 

“I got a traffic ticket! How do I fight it?"

One of the most frequently asked questions from our clients is, “Can you get me no points?  I don’t mind paying a fine.  I just don’t want the points on my license.”

This is a valid question as too many points could lead to a license suspension, increase in insurance premiums and hefty fines.  While we always fight for the best possible outcome, clients need to be aware how different courts work and why we can’t always negotiate points.

When you decide to fight a ticket in the state of New York, you should be aware that there are 2 types of courts and different ways of fighting tickets in both courts.

1) The Town, Village, or County Courts in Long Island and Upstate New York allow for plea bargaining (or negotiating points and violation.)

2) The TVB—Traffic Violations Bureau will only allow a win-or-lose situation with no negotiation of points or violation type.

Town, Village or County Court

In many parts of Long Island, and throughout Upstate New York, an attorney can fight the violation type as well as lower the points for the offense.  For example, if you receive a speeding ticket in Westchester, Rockland, or Long Island, an attorney can reduce the points on the violation depending on the speed charged and the court. The speed can be reduced to a lower speed, a non-speed point violation, or a violation with a fine and no points.

TVB—Traffic Violations Bureau

There is a lot of confusion about NYC courts as many of our clients say they’re willing to pay a fine as long as they don’t receive points, but there are point negotiations in the city.  If you are fighting a ticket in New York City, it’s likely that your ticket will be handled at a TVB—Traffic Violations Bureau.  If you wish to plead Not Guilty there will be a hearing with the police officer present.  The TVB will not allow for plea bargains or negotiations to lower the points or lower the violation type.  At a TVB court you can only plead guilty or not guilty.  If you receive a speeding ticket or any other moving violation, you can be found not guilty with no fine or points, or you will be found guilty and have points and a fine assessment.  Locations for TVB include: Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens.

Regardless of where you receive a ticket and the type of court handling your case, the possibility of a positive outcome increases when you hire a traffic ticket attorney.  If you have a moving violation that you’d like to fight call us at (212) 227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com for free information on how we can defend your ticket.

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: How Bad are NY Drivers?

It’s difficult to be a driver in New York or New Jersey (or anywhere else in the Mid-Atlantic region, really) and not hold a certain level of contempt for one’s fellow automotive traveler/commuter.

There are only so many times you can have your tail light smashed by a truck on the Jersey Turnpike, spend hours in dense, accident-created traffic on the Cross Bronx, or narrowly avoid getting side-swiped on the FDR before the thought enters your mind: “These must be the worst drivers in the country.”

Well, at least it’s not Montana.

Montana drivers ranked as the No. 1 worst drivers in the country for the second year in a row, according to data compiled by CarInsuranceComparisson.com.

Big Sky Country ranked No. 1 in fatalities per 100 million miles driven, No. 6 in careless driving (measured by fatalities of pedestrians and cyclists per 100,000 people), No. 8 failing to obey traffic laws, No. 13 in drunken driving and No. 20 in speeding, which is particularly impressive when you consider much of the state’s roads have 80 mph speed limits (although it’s worth noting that the state had no daytime speed limits not too long ago).

New York drivers, on the other hand, were ranked the 28th worst, or 23rd best, if you’re a glass-half-full kinda person. New York shares the 28 spot with neighboring Connecticut as well as Wisconsin. 

Apparently taxi cabs and Uber cars haven’t been pulling their weigh this year, as New York has the 15th highest rate of drunken driving for 2015 after ranking 17th in 2014 and 28th in 2013.

Connecticut drivers were actually more likely to drive drunk than New Yorkers, as the Nutmeg State ranked 4th in drunken driving in 2015 after ranking 11th and 7th in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

The safest place to drive in the tri-state area is New Jersey, which has the 7th best drivers, according to the report.

Low fatality and speeding rates as well as drivers who follow traffic laws are what give the Garden State its favorable rating, though New Jersey ranks 25th in drunken driving and 21st in careless driving. 

Behind Montana in the race for worst drivers in America are South Carolina and New Mexico tied for second, Texas at fourth and Lousiana rounding out the top five.

Minnesota ranked as the state with the best drivers, followed by Ohio, Vermont, Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia and, of course, New Jersey.

Car Insurance Comparison credited frequency of careless driving (i.e. talking and texting on cell phones) and speeding as the most indicative of overall rank.

Article Originally Published on NY Daily News

*Photo Credit: “Outbound Lincoln” By: Joe Shlabotnik/Source: Flickr

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Failure to Stop for a School Bus Ticket

According to Safe NY, 50,000 vehicles illegally pass a stopped school bus every day.  Passing a stopped school bus is a very serious offense with a $250-$400 fine and 5 points for a first conviction.  Although unlikely, a 30 day jail sentence can also be imposed.

According to N.Y. VTL § 1174, a driver who meets or overtakes (from either direction) a school bus that has stopped to receive or discharge any passengers, and which has at least one flashing red signal lamp, must stop their vehicle before reaching said school bus. The driver must also remain stopped until the bus continues moving or signals for the driver to pass, or until a police officer gives the driver permission to continue.

Yellow lights signify that the bus is coming to a stop so the driver must slow down.  Red light means that the students are getting off of the bus.  Drivers must come to a full stop even if they’re on the other side of a divided highway.

If you receive a summons for passing a school bus or any other moving violation or traffic ticket call 212-227-9008 for free legal advice or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

*Photo Credit: “123/365 Stuck behind a bus” By: Chris Waits/Source: Flickr

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: 7 Best Ways to Save on Your Car Insurance

Because the initial steps in getting car insurance at a good price can be so frustrating, most people tend to ignore it once they have it. That could be costing them considerable sums of money each year.

While it’s easy to mistake auto insurance as something that’s a relatively fixed cost, it’s not. It can be lowered — often easily — to help you save money, the Insurance Information Institute says. Your savings will vary greatly depending on your driving record, vehicle and location, but it could add up to hundreds of dollars per year.

  • Boost Your Deductible

Generally, when someone decides on a deductible amount for his or her car insurance, he or she sticks with it. But increasing the amount you pay for fender benders is the best place to look when trying to lower your annual out-of-pocket expenses, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Admittedly, it’s a gamble. A car wreck will cost you more this way, but if you and everyone else on your car insurance policy have a history of safe driving, it’s a way to save money. And if the threat of a big deductible payment worries you, put the money aside. Use your annual savings as an auto emergency fund so you’ll never be caught by surprise.

  • Join a Carpool

Joining a car pool has benefits beyond helping the environment. If you carpool with three other people, with each driving one-week shifts, you can cut the miles you drive by up to 75 percent. And the less you drive, the more you save on car insurance.

“Most companies track mileage,” says Art Scott, a retired insurance agent who worked for State Farm for 30 years. “Anything under 7,500 miles is considered the pleasure rate — and that’s the lowest. Up to about 13,000 miles is a medium rate, and anything over that is a higher rate.”

The amount you save will vary depending on several factors, but J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America, says the difference could be as much as 25 percent.

  • Buy what you Need

The car insurance you need when your car is brand new is often considerably different than what you need later on. Initial rates are generally higher, since you’re required to get both comprehensive and collision coverage if you took out a car loan to pay for the vehicle. Comprehensive pays for the repair or replacement of your car from damage that doesn’t result from an accident, and collision covers damages if you’re in a wreck.

Once it’s paid off, most people forget to save money by exploring their car insurance options. Check the value of your car through the Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides.com. You might have more collision insurance than you need. And in some cases, it might be worth dropping it entirely, especially if your car is an older model.

“It’s often smart to drop collision on older vehicles,” says Mike Barry, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute. “Comprehensive is so inexpensive, and you’re giving up a coverage you might need — that’s worth hanging on to, though.”

Among the reasons you might need comprehensive coverage: damage from storms, vandalism and theft.

  • Combine Your Policies

If you’ve got your car insurance through a different company than you did your homeowners insurance or renters insurance, you may be paying more than you should. It’s called “multilining” in the industry. It means that by combining policies with a single company, you can stack discounts and save money.

Car insurance is the biggest risk for policy writers. You’re more likely to get in an accident or have your car stolen than to have something catastrophic happen to your house. By combining policies, you lower some of the insurance company’s risk.

“Multiline is where they make their money, rather than just picking up a loser like auto insurance,” says Scott. “The more lines (of insurance that insurance companies) can get, the more they’re willing to give discounts for it.”

  • Audit Your Driving

Have you changed jobs recently? Maybe you’ve moved to an area where your favorite stores are a lot closer? Keep an eye on that odometer to save money. Just like with carpooling, reduced driving mileage means reduced car insurance rates, says Scott, the retired insurance agent. But people often don’t reach out to their insurance agents when their residence or driving habits change, and they end up sticking with unnecessarily high rates.

  • Consider a Tracking Device

If you know you’re a careful driver, you might save money with a new car insurance policy from Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. called MyRate. A small wireless device is attached to your car, letting the company monitor your driving habits, including distance, most frequent travel times and driving habits, such as sudden stops or speeding.

After the first year, you could save as much as 60 percent, according to Progressive. But you will be sacrificing some privacy for the savings. And in some states, such as New Jersey, if the company doesn’t like your driving habits, it could raise your rate by up to 9 percent.

Concerns about the device’s intrusive nature have slowed the rollout of MyRate in several states. In Pennsylvania, Progressive ultimately withdrew its filing to introduce the coverage, says Melissa Fox, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

  • Pay Your Bills

Your timeliness in paying your bills may not seem like it has anything to do with your driving abilities, but it’s something car insurance companies pay attention to. If you’ve got a good credit report, it’s worth checking with your agent to see about a discount and save money.

“Many insurers use credit-based insurance scores,” says Barry. “It’s a contentious issue in certain state houses … (but) insurers will say their studies show that if you’re responsible in your personal life, you’re less likely to file claims.”

There are other ways to get car insurance discounts. Older drivers who complete adult driver safety programs can get premium reductions, while many insurers offer discounts for teens who maintain a 3.0 grade point average in school.

Article Originally Featured on Bankrate

*Photo Credit: “Drivers License – Teen Driver” By: State Farm/Source: Flickr

U.S. Drivers may be Dying Because of Cellphone Use While Driving

The number of deaths from traffic accidents in the United States jumped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, suggesting smartphones and other driving distractions could be making America’s roadways more dangerous, officials said Tuesday.

Preliminary government statistics, released during a Thanksgiving holiday week known for heavy traffic congestion, showed deaths rising to 16,225 in the January-June period at a rate more than double an increase in overall driving spawned by falling gasoline prices and a growing economy.

“The increase in smartphones in our hands is so significant, there’s no question that has to play some role. But we don’t have enough information yet to determine how big a role,” said Mark Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s auto safety watchdog.

The jump in 2015 fatalities follows a decline in annual traffic deaths to 32,675 last year, for a record low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled, according to NHTSA statistics. The 2014 data included 21,022 passenger vehicle deaths, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1975.

The increase in the first half of 2015 was the biggest six-month jump in traffic deaths reported since 1977, according to statistics. But officials cautioned that semi-annual results can be subject to major revisions and noted that a comparable 7.9 percent increase in early 2012 led to a 4 percent rise for that year as a whole.

Officials said it was too early to identify contributing factors. But Rosekind told reporters that officials are looking at likely causes including distracted driving and the possibility that lower gas prices have encouraged more driving among “risky drivers” such as teenagers.

Rosekind also criticized an absence of effective state laws that prohibit drivers from using hand-held smartphones or require the use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

The auto safety agency expects to unveil a program next year to focus $500 million in federal safety grants on human factors that are responsible for 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes.

Article Originally Published on The New York Post

*Photo Credit: “April 10 33″ By: Lord Jim/Source: Flickr

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Unsafe Lane Change Ticket

One of the most common moving violations we see in our office is the Unsafe Lane Change Summons.  If a police officer feels that you changed lanes unsafely, you may be given an unsafe lane change ticket.

NY VTL 1128(a) requires drivers to remain in one lane and changing from that lane is not permitted unless the driver ascertained that moving lanes could be completed safely.

VTL 1128(b) directs that passing other vehicles or making a left turn from a center lane can only be done if executed in a safe manner.

VTL 1128 (c) & (d) directs motorists to carefully obey signs and hazardous road markings and not cross these special lane markings.

While the unsafe lane change laws seem straightforward and reasonable, it’s possible to change lanes without checking your blind spot or signaling your intent to change lanes thus making it unsafe.  In addition, failure to obey road markings or signs, while changing lanes, could result in an unsafe lane change ticket.

It’s also important to remember the Move Over Law which requires drivers to change lanes if an emergency vehicle is on the shoulder of the road.  Improperly passing an emergency vehicle could also result in an Unsafe Lane Change Summons.

The best way to avoid being ticketed for an Unsafe Lane Change violation is to:

  • Look to make sure that there is enough space to change lanes.
  • Be sure to signal your intent to change lanes.
  • Check all mirrors to ensure that the lanes are clear and a lane change is safe.
  • Check your blind spot.
  • Move slowly to the next lane.

The Unsafe Lane Change Ticket is 3 points.  Receiving 11 or more points on your license in an 18 month period could lead to the suspension of your license.

If you’ve received an Unsafe Lane Change ticket, or any other moving violation in New York, call 212-227-9008 or email michaelblock.law@gmail.com for free legal advice on how we can defend your traffic ticket.

*Photo Credit: “Get Out!” By: Michael Gil/Source: Flickr 

Tips for Avoiding Traffic Tickets During the Thanksgiving Weekend

Are you Driving for Thanksgiving?

According to the American Safety Council, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays for drivers.  46.9 million people are predicted to be on the roads this Thanksgiving.   The heaviest traffic is between 2PM and 5PM on Thanksgiving Day.

Traffic Tickets also increase around the holiday season.  Here are 3 simple ways to avoid being ticketed this Thanksgiving.

  • Avoid your Cellphone. You could easily receive a Cellphone ticket while fidgeting with your GPS, sending a quick text message, or even checking the time.  You can receive a summons for anything while holding your Cellphone.  If you absolutely need to use your it, use Bluetooth or any other hands-free system.  Better yet, pull over and shut off your engine before touching your device.

Here at the Law Office of Michael Block, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  Drive carefully and call us if you receive any traffic tickets at (212) 227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com to learn about how we can defend your traffic violations.

*Photo Credit: “Northbound I-405 rush hour” By: Oran Viryincy/(Source: Flickr)

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Should NYC Have "Text Stops"

There are designated “texting zones” or “text stops” on the Long Island Expressway to keep drivers from using their phones while driving.  This makes the roads safer and curbs the amount of Cellphone ticket given.  Do you think that NYC should also make texting stops available?