Tag Archives: failure to yield

Failure to Yield Summons Not Enough to Deter Violators

A new York Times Article points out the limited success of NYC Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero. The number of people killed in car crashes only slightly decreased last year, by 5 deaths.

Failure to yield summonses contain three points and a minimum fine of $138 in NYC. NYC and NY State share in collection of the fine money. Those who commit these infractions are often unaware of the consequences as the back of the summonses contain only information about the fine, and not the pints.

Minimum fines for most tickets have not been increased in many years (from $40 to $50). The surcharge must last increased from $80 to $88 in 2013.

Maybe fines and surcharges should be increased to deter violations. The word would spread among drivers, and social media would be buzzing.

If you receive a summons for Failure to yield or any other ticket in NY state, please contact the office at 212-227-9008, or michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

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 

DWT--Driving While Tired May Be a Felony in New York

Most people have heard of the acronyms DWI, DUI and OUI. But what about Driving While Tired or DWT, is that a crime? Yes, if DWT is due to reckless behavior and results in an injury or death, then DWT can have serious criminal consequences.

The driver whose truck injured comic Tracy Moran and killed Jimmy McNair is awaiting trial in New Jersey on charges of death by auto and multiple counts of assault by auto. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled that fatigue of the Walmart truck driver was the cause of the crash. According to the NTSB, “The driver . . . had been on duty for 13 ½ hours of a 14-hour duty day, with more driving planned. He had been awake more than 28 hours when his truck struck the limo van, including an overnight drive from his residence in Georgia to the distribution center at which he was based.”

This weekend, a taxi driver allegedly struck and killed an 88-year-old woman as she was crossing the street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The driver, Salifu Abubkar, allegedly told the police that he had been driving the cab for 16 hours.  According to Taxi and Limousine Commission Rule 2-23(a), that is a no-no: “A driver shall not operate a taxicab for more than twelve (12) consecutive hours.” However, it was later revealed that Mr. Abubkar did not work 16 consecutive hours because he took two breaks during his shift.

Mr. Abubkar was charged with a fairly new law, in New York City failure to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist by a driver of a motor vehicle when contact results in a physical injury. The law, Section 19-190 of the New York City Administrative Code, which took effect in August 2014, is punished as a misdemeanor, by up to 30 days in jail.

However, while not commenting directly on Mr. Abubkar’s case, the criminal consequences for DWT in New York could be much more severe. Assuming a person feel asleep behind the wheel from fatigue and caused a physical injury or death, the act could be considered reckless behavior and imply several crimes with varying degrees of elements to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In New York, recklessness is defined as awareness and conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk.

Starting with the most severe, the act could be Manslaughter in the Second Degree, which is “recklessly caus[ing] the death of another person.” The crime is a class C felony, and the maximum prison term is up to 5 to 15 years. There are precedents for such convictions in states like Pennsylvania and Virginia. And there are cases to the contrary, most notably in Indiana, where falling asleep behind the wheel without warning was not considered reckless behavior.

Next are Assault in the Second Degree, a felony, and Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor. The second degree crime is charged when a serious physical injury is caused by means of a dangerous instrument. Yes, under New York law cars are considered dangerous instruments. The third degree crime is defined by recklessly causing only a physical injury. Finally, Reckless Engagement in the Second Degree, also a class A misdemeanor, is recklessly engaging in conduct that creates only a substantial risk of physical injury.

Generally speaking it is bad idea to drive a car if you are tired, which is why medications that cause fatigue come with warnings that read: do not drive or operate heavy machinery. If you do DWT, the new pedestrian or bicyclist right of way law may be the least of your problems.

Article Originally Posted on The Huffington Post

*Photo Credit: “sleepy James safari driver in Africa” By: m.shattock/Source: Flickr

Taxi Driver Charged with Failure to Yield after Deadly Accident with Pedestrian

UPPER WEST SIDE –How long a cab driver was driving before an accident that killed an elderly pedestrian in Manhattan early Sunday is one of the key questions investigators are trying to answer, but now the TLC says the 73-year-old driver was not behind the wheel for 12 consecutive hours.

Luisa Rosario, 88, was hit and killed in the Manhattan Valley section, one of 108 pedestrians killed in New York City this year and the 12th since Halloween. But while driver Salifu Abubakar began his shift almost 16 hours before the accident, the TLC says he did not break any rules.

The review of Abubakar’s trip tracker records confirms that he did not drive more than 12 hours, taking at least two breaks. Officials say he logged in at 9 a.m., working five hours until 2 p.m., when he took a one-hour break. He logged in again at 3 p.m., and the meter was then active for just over 2.5 hours until logged off at 5:40 p.m.

He then took another break for just over an hour, logging in again at 7 p.m. At the time of the crash, approximately 12:40 a.m., the driver had worked for approximately 5.5 consecutive hours.

The TLC does have a rule on the books prohibiting taxi drivers from driving for more than 12 consecutive hours, but enforcement isn’t straightforward, as the above analysis illustrates. Drivers take breaks throughout their shift to attend to personal needs, and these breaks re-start the clock. Even in those instances where a meter is seen to have been logged-in in excess of 12 hours, it is often a demonstrable oversight on the driver’s part.

Many taxi drivers lease by the shift, meaning they only have the taxi available to them for a maximum of 12 hours. The TLC recently promulgated rules that facilitate fleet garages structuring shorter, more flexible shifts, similar to the flexible shifting that some drivers see as preferable in the for-hire vehicle industry.

For the above reasons, going all the way back to 1990 when the rule was instituted, no violations have been issued.

The cab driver’s son told Eyewitness News that his father is a hard-working man who is sorry for what happened.

Abubkar remained at the scene and was charged with failure to yield. He was issued a desk appearance ticket and will appear in court December 16.

Rosario was crossing the intersection at 109th Street and Columbus Avenue around 12:30 Sunday morning when she was struck by the cab, which was making a right turn. Police say she was in the crosswalk at the time.

Abubkar has been a driver for more than 26 years. His license to drive a cab was immediately suspended after the crash.

Article Originally Featured on ABC7 NY

*Photo Credit: Taxi Driver by Jim Pennucci/Source: Flickr

A 70-Year-Old Woman in Brooklyn was fatally struck By MTA Bus Driver after His Failure to Yield

A longtime Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver was arrested on Tuesday after his bus hit a 70-year-old woman who was crossing the street in Brooklyn, killing her just a block from the shelter where she lived, the authorities said.

After the bus struck the woman, the driver continued on to a nearby depot, and by the time investigators determined through surveillance video which bus was involved in the crash, a second driver had picked it up from the depot and begun a new route, an authority spokeswoman, Amanda Kwan, said.

The driver, Paul Roper, 48, who has been a city bus driver for 15 years, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a felony; failure to yield to a pedestrian, a misdemeanor; and failure to exercise due care, a traffic violation. The authority suspended him without pay.

The woman, Carol Bell, was walking north on Sackman Street and trying to cross Fulton Street in the Broadway Junction section of Brooklyn around 6:15 a.m. when a southbound bus turned left onto Fulton, the police said.

She had just waved hello to a grocery store owner, as she did almost every morning on her way from the Magnolia House Women’s Shelter to a methadone treatment program. Ms. Bell had been homeless off and on since the mid-1990s, her daughter said.

Surveillance video published by NBC New York showed her waiting cautiously on the side of the street for cars to pass, and then moving across the street with the aid of her walker. There was no painted crosswalk at the intersection, but the charges indicate Ms. Bell still had the right of way.

The bus stopped briefly after hitting her, and then drove off to the East New York Depot, several blocks away, near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Broadway, the police said. The bus, which was not in service, had been returning to the depot from the B15 bus route at the time of the crash, Ms. Kwan said.

Photos from the scene showed a crumpled walker lying in the street.

The authorities initially could not find Mr. Roper on Tuesday morning. Ms. Kwan said the bus was towed back to the depot after its rooftop number was seen on surveillance video and investigators pulled it over along the B15 route, with a fresh driver at its wheel.

The crash, coming several days after three trick-or-treaters were killed by a car that jumped a curb in the Bronx, drew renewed promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio about the city’s commitment to its Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths. Residents who live near the scene of Tuesday’s crash said speeding buses are a constant problem.

One of the charges Mr. Roper faces — failure to yield — was at the center of a clash this year between the mayor and the city’s major bus drivers’ union. A new traffic-safety law made failing to yield a misdemeanor in some cases, and enforcement of the law had prompted protests by drivers. But on Tuesday, the union, Transport Workers Union Local 100, was restrained in its response to the charges against Mr. Roper, saying only that the crash was a “terrible tragedy.”

Mr. de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the Vision Zero initiative had already helped to reduce fatalities.

“We’re very committed to it, and every time we lose someone, we say, you know, this is something that we need to keep reiterating to people — the care they need to take with driving, and why all these standards matter, why that lower speed limit matters,” Mr. de Blasio said.

In 1998, Ms. Bell’s daughter, Lisa Bell, got an apartment, where she lived with her mother until she lost the lease around 2007.

“She was a very caring person; she never let me go hungry. She had a heart of gold,” Lisa Bell, 51, said, adding, “We had a rough life.”

A man who identified himself as Mr. Roper’s brother said he spoke briefly with him on Tuesday. “He didn’t see nothing,” said the brother, who declined to give his name.

Lisa Bell said she was not upset at the bus driver, but wanted him to understand how she felt.

“I know it wasn’t intentional,” she said. “It was an accident he didn’t stop. He was scared. It happens every day. But I need him to know he took my mom’s life, and that’s my best friend.”

Article Originally Posted By The New York Times

*Photo Credit:

Vision Zero Vigil Takes Over Union Square

A group of 1,000 people, all of whom were affected in one way or another by serious traffic accidents in New York City, gathered in Union Square on Wednesday night. They had a very clear message – traffic accidents are avoidable and preventable. That is the driving force behind Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policy, which seeks to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. So far in 2015, there have been 123 traffic related deaths and over 23,000 serious injuries.

The strategy to end pedestrian traffic deaths comes consists of increased enforcement of speeding, failure to yield, and distracted driving offenses, as well as ambitious plans to redesign some of the more dangerous city streets. Speed cameras have been set up in certain areas of NYC and statistics show that speeding violations caught by those cameras have actually decreased; this means drivers are becoming more aware of their surroundings and the regular enforcement of these violations.

While progress has been made, events like the Vision Zero Vigil highlight the fact that there is still much work to be done in order to bring the number of pedestrian deaths down to zero in New York City. What are your thoughts on Vision Zero? Could the Mayor be doing more? Or is he on the right path?

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: What is Vision Zero?

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his Vision Zero policy as a way to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. Studies that led to the creation of Vision Zero claim that 4,000 people are injured each year in New York City traffic crashes while another 250 are killed due to involvement in a traffic crash. The basic tenets of Vision Zero are as follows:

• There is no such thing as a traffic accident – instead, they are crashes that could have been prevented.
• There is no acceptable level of injury or death that stem from traffic crashes.
• The public should expect safe traffic behavior on the streets.

How does Vision Zero affect New York drivers? Vision Zero studies estimate that 70% of traffic crashes involving pedestrians are caused by driver actions, specifically speeding, failure to yield and improper turns, texting / talking while driving, and signal violations. As such, New York City has increased the enforcement of speeding and failure to yield violations in some effective ways.

In November 2014, the un-posted speed limit in New York City was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph as part of the Vision Zero initiative. In addition, enforcement of the new speed limit was heavily increased – in the first few months, the number of speeding tickets issued in NYC skyrocketed 40% from the previous year. Drivers have reported getting speeding tickets for going only 1-5 mph over the speed limit, which has not always been the case in NYC. The penalties for speeding tickets vary anywhere from 3-11 points depending on how fast over the speed limit the driver was going. 11 points or 3 speeding tickets within an 18 month period is often grounds for driver’s license suspension, while 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about an extra fee in the form of the Driver Responsibility Assessment.

Failure to Yield, Improper Turns, and Signal Violations
One of the biggest changes to come out of Vision Zero is the fact that drivers who fail to yield the right of way and seriously injure or kill pedestrians can now be charged with misdemeanors. In addition, the number of failure to yield tickets issued by the NYPD increased over 125% from the previous year. City bus drivers feel they are unfairly targeted by this new enforcement, especially since they are tasked with running tight schedules to keep commuters moving. 6 city bus drivers have been arrested since the change to the failure to yield law, though one of them was just recently cleared of any wrongdoing. Improper turn and signal violation tickets are already fairly common in New York City as “right on red” is typically not allowed on city roads, though it is allowed in other parts of New York as well as the surrounding states. Failure to yield tickets carry a penalty of 3 points, while improper turn and signal violations carry 2 point penalties.

Texting / Talking While Driving
One of the worst tickets drivers can get in New York is the cell phone / portable electronic ticket. Not only is it a high-point ticket (5 points), but it is also a difficult ticket to fight. Unfortunately, as part of Vision Zero and other distracted driving awareness pushes, there has been a huge increase in the number of cell phone tickets issued in New York. The burden of proof for a cell phone ticket is fairly low – an officer merely needs to see the cell phone in the vicinity of a driver’s head to issue the ticket, and drivers will typically need to pull call records from their cell phone provider to prove they were not on the phone at the time in order to stand much of a chance of beating this ticket. A police officer may issue a portable electronics ticket to drivers if they are touching any handheld electronic device – this includes iPods and MP3 players, GPS devices, and tablets.

Mayor de Blasio claimed that Vision Zero has been a great success, especially since 2014 proved to be the safest year for pedestrians in New York City since 1909. However, the mayor let everyone know there was still much work to be done since the goal of Vision Zero is to totally eliminate pedestrian traffic deaths. Other reports say that Vision Zero has seen mixed results since its roll out, with pedestrian deaths lowering in some parts of the city while actually rising in other areas.

Judging by the amount of tickets written in New York City due to Vision Zero initiatives, as well as the relative success of the policy in its first year, it is a very safe bet the program will not only continue, but that officials will not rest on their laurels. Expect to see an even stronger focus on the targeted enforcement of Vision Zero violations as officials strive to reach their goal of eliminating all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. It’s possible that in order to reach this goal, higher monetary fines and point values will be attached to Vision Zero traffic tickets, all while steadily increasing enforcement of these traffic violations.

If you receive a speeding ticket, failure to yield ticket, cell phone ticket, or any other Vision Zero traffic ticket, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

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Probe Finds Mixed Results for Vision Zero

The New York Daily News recently analyzed traffic data concerning 12 major thoroughfares that are directly impacted by Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policies and the results were surprising. When comparing September through October of 2014 to the same months in 2012, the report showed that some of the streets that featured hallmarks of Vision Zero – a 25 mph speed limit, increased enforcement of speeding and failure to yield violations, and improved signage – saw a big decrease in the amount of accidents with injuries or fatalities. However, about half of those roads actually saw an increase in the amount of the same kind of accidents. The report states that the number of traffic accidents actually stayed the same from 2012 to 2014, while the number of fatalities decreased by about 4%. As a caveat, the city Transportation Department stated that there was not yet enough data to thoroughly analyze the effectiveness of Vision Zero.

Regardless, drivers can be assured that the NYPD will continue with its increased enforcement of speeding violations and failure to yield violations. The amount of speeding tickets has increased dramatically since Vision Zero was enacted, while failure to yield tickets more than doubled during the same time. If you receive a traffic ticket due to Vision Zero, please contact our office at 212-227-9008 to find out how we can help you.

Harlem Youth Fatally Struck by Livery Cab

A Harlem boy was fatally struck by a livery cab on Wednesday after school. No charges have been filed as of yet, as it has not been determined whether the driver failed to yield the right of way while the boy crossed the street. A school crossing guard claimed that the boy ran across the street while the car had the green light. As part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policy, drivers involved in incidents where failure to yield the right of way results in the death or injury of pedestrians can face criminal charges.

Our condolences go out to the boy’s family during this difficult time.

NYDOHMH Report Shows That Motor Vehicles are a Leading Cause of Death for NYC Children

A new report from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that over 400 NYC children were killed as a result of motor vehicle injuries between 2002 and 2013, a statistic that reinforces the goal of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero program. In fact, motor vehicles were the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 12 in NYC. City officials claim that Vision Zero will work to lower the amount of motor vehicle related deaths among children, as well as all pedestrians in NYC, because of the focus on pedestrian safety. That includes strict enforcement of speeding and failure to yield offenses, as well as lowering speed limits and creating more pedestrian-safe crossings.

What are your thoughts on this surprising statistic?

School Bus has Close Call with MTA Train, Driver Ticketed

A school bus driver in Westchester has been ticketed for stopping in the right of the way of a railroad crossing while having two students and a driver’s aide on the bus. An officer observed the school bus stop much closer to the crossing than it should have – so close, in fact, that the railroad crossing gates lowered onto the vehicle as the train approached. The driver backed the school bus up and the MTA train passed by without incident, but it was most assuredly a close call.

Please remember these rules when approaching railroad grade crossings:

  • Do not cross any railroad tracks unless there is room for your vehicle on the other side. If other traffic prevents you from going fully across, wait and cross only when there is room.
  • School buses with or without passengers, other buses with passengers on board and vehicles with explosives or flammable cargo must stop at all railroad crossings. Remember those rules if you are following one of these vehicles.

(Credit: dmv.ny.gov)

New York police have been much more vigilant at railroad crossings since a number of high profile crashes earlier in the year, especially on Long Island. If you receive a railroad crossing ticket, or any other traffic ticket, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to find out how we may help you.

Long Island Man Charged with DWI, Reckless Driving

A Long Island man is in custody for driving drunk and hitting a man pushing his grandson in a stroller this past weekend. Both the grandfather and his grandson suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital. Police charged the driver with DWI, reckless driving, and failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian, as well as two counts of assault. The driver’s blood alcohol level was .08, which is the state standard for intoxication.

DWI and reckless driving are both misdemeanor offenses, and if convicted the driver will have these on his criminal record. In addition, reckless driving is a 5 point ticket, while the failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian ticket carries can add 3 points to a driver’s license. A DWI conviction can lead to numerous fines and penalties, as well as extra payment in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment.

If you are arrested for DWI or receive traffic tickets on Long Island, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

NYC Speed Cameras Bring In $16.9 Million

There are 57 NYC speed cameras operational in the city, and in just one year they have issued 445,065 tickets and brought the city $16.9 million in revenue. By contrast, NYPD officers have issued 117,767 speeding tickets during the same time and have increased their issuance of speeding tickets and failure to yield tickets by 52%. This increase is due to Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero program, which seeks to end all traffic deaths in the city. 83 more speed cameras are going to be operational by the end of the year, bringing the total up to 140. NYC traffic tickets account for about $300 million of city revenue. These traffic tickets often carry points and other hidden fees for drivers, so if you have received a traffic ticket in Manhattan, please contact our office at 212-227-9008.

Transit Unions Cry Foul Over New Failure to Yield Law

As part of Mayor DeBlasio’s push to end all traffic deaths in New York City, a new failure to yield law makes it a
criminal offense if a driver injures or kills a pedestrian who has the right of way. At least three city bus drivers
have been arrested for violating the law since it went into effect in August, but transportation unions believe that
bus drivers are being unfairly attacked and are now supporting an amendment that would exclude them from the law.
What do you think: should this law be amended to protect city bus drivers, or should bus drivers be held to the same
standard as other city drivers?

For the full article, please visit:
Mayor DeBlasio’s Traffic Law Vilifies Bus Drivers, Union Says

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