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Tag Archives: Traffic Ticket

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice Takes Aim at Drunk Drivers

Congresswoman Rice pushed for new national penalties for people driving impaired with a child in the car titled: The Prevent Impaired Driving Child Endangerment Act. This piece of legislation would make it a felony to drive under the influence while a child is present in the car. Included in Kathleen Rice’s piece of legislation is language that directs the Secretary of Transportation to withhold portions of federal funding from states that do not comply with this law that better protects children from impaired drivers.

If you receive a summons for driving under the influence, an experienced traffic ticket attorney can help. Call us at 212-227-9008, or email us at mblock1214@gmail.com.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Uber and the DMV

Uber ended its autonomous car service in San Francisco after it had defied state officials orders telling uber the autonomous service was illegal. In Uber’s hometown of San Francisco, uber was forced to shut down its autonomous car service system. State regulators in California made sure that uber would adhere to state regulations.
Uber still contends that their autonomous cars require human oversight and are not illegal. Do you think that uber should be allowed to have its autonomous cars on the road?
If you receive a moving violation while commuting to or from the city, an experienced traffic ticket attorney can help. Call us at 212-227-9008 or email us at Michaelblock.law@gmail.com.
Photo via Visual Hunt

Buying a Used Car? Not so Fast

Buying a used car is typically a fast and cheap way to purchase a car at an affordable price that has all of the proper functions of a brand new car. However, Buying a used car is not as convenient as we may think.

At many used car lots, safety flaws in the used cars run unattended. There is no federal requirement for sellers of used cars to fix any problem related to safety-recalls, or even tell customers of the recalls. New car salesmen must disclose recall information however.Car auctions are also one of the most unregulated fields of the car buying industry. These auctions are basically places where some dealers actually can sell defective or damaged or unsafe vehicles to other dealers who are willing to sell them to the public.

 This is unacceptable. These used cars are eluding recall safeguards, which puts motorists, and pedestrians alike, in serious danger.
Whether you are driving a used car or a new car, remember to drive safely. If you find yourself in a situation where you are pulled over for running a red light, running a stop sign, speeding, or any other moving violation, we can help. Call us at 212-227-9008.

Failure to Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalks

As a lawyer who defends people who receive summonses for moving violations, I frequently represent clients for Failure to Yield to Pedestrians. These summonses are issued more in NYC than they are in the rest of New York State. VTL 1151 provides pedestrians’ right of way in crosswalks. (a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles. It does not matter that you drove into the intersection on a green light. As long as the pedestrian is lawfully in the crosswalk, you may not enter the intersection. The pedestrian has the right of way if he or she has entered the intersection with a walk signal.

Failing to yield to a pedestrian or give them the right of way can result in a 3 point summons. So far this year there have been 17,490 summonses issued for failing to give a pedestrian the right of way in New York City. That is an alarming number that unfortunately will continue to grow. This is a city of pedestrians. No matter what time of day there will always be a sea of people walking to and from their destinations. Be mindful of them as they cross the streets.  According to Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero data, there are 22 pedestrians killed a year and 1,925 pedestrians injured yearly in the city. Safer driving is imperative! Always give pedestrians the right of way and stay off electronic devices while driving so you can give 100% of your attention the condition of the road.

A conviction for Failure to Yield to Pedestrians will result in three points and a minimum fine of $138. If you receive a summons for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian you or your attorney must personally appear in court. You cannot plead guilty by mail or internet. If you have recently received a summons for this violation or any other moving violation in New York please contact me at my office at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

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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.

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.