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Is Tailgating Illegal In NY?

Following too closely, also known as tailgating, is the action of driving behind another vehicle too closely and not leaving enough space to stop without causing a collision. But is it illegal to tailgate? Tailgating is illegal in New York state, according to the Vehicle and Traffic Law. That is why when we learn to drive, instructors teach us to keep a prudent distance between the car in front of us.

Understanding the Legality of Tailgating in NY
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What Is Considered Tailgating (Following Too Closely) in New York?

New York VTL § 1129(a) says “the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway”.

As you have probably guessed, the law is very ambiguous. It does not indicate what constitutes a prudent distance or when this distance must be extended or decreased due to roadway circumstances. This, of course, raises an obvious issue. Unlike other offenses, such as red light violations, where it is clear why you received a ticket and there are no gray areas, tailgating tickets are somewhat vague.

Depending on the officer’s view and criteria, you may obtain a ticket even though you believe you were driving properly and allowing a reasonable distance between your car and the one in front of you. As a result, you may think that the ticket that you received is unfair. Fortunately, there are ways to dispute a ticket. Tailgating tickets are not so easy to dispute but it is possible to have a good defense.

What is the Cost for a Following Too Closely Ticket?

The price for a tailgating ticket varies depending on if it is the first, second, or third offense in a specific period of time. If you obtain a fine for tailgating but it is the first offense, the fine is $150. If you receive a second ticket within 18 months from the first offense, the fine can be up to $300. Lastly, if you get a third ticket for tailgating within 18 months, the fine may rise up to $450.

Furthermore, in New York, a driver who is convicted or enters a guilty plea for following too closely is required to pay a state surcharge of $88 or $93 depending on where the driver received the ticket. 

How many points is tailgating in NY?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employs a point system. The DMV’s point system adds points to your license based on the seriousness of the offense for which you are found guilty in court. That means, after a traffic ticket conviction, you will receive points on your license.

Just like any other traffic violation, when a tailgating driver receives a ticket, points are added to their driver’s record. For every tailgating ticket drivers receive 4 points. If you receive 11 points in an 18-month period, you will get your license suspended.

It is also important to mention that if you receive 6 points or more you will have to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee. This fee is $300 if you have six points, every additional point costs $75. That means that if you receive two tickets for tailgating in 18 months, 8 points will be added to your license and you will have to pay $450 ($300 for the DRA and $150 for the seventh and eighth point).

Finally, if you commit three violations in 18 months, your license will be suspended regardless of whether you have 11 points. 

Why does the Law Require You to Leave Space?

Leaving a safe distance between the car in front of us is one of the most basic driving rules. Actually, following too closely is the second cause of automotive accidents in the state of New York, only behind distracted driving. It is easy to understand why tailgating is forbidden by the law. If we are following another car too closely and that car suddenly stops, it is very likely that it will end in a rear-end accident.

Tailgating is not a proper driving habit, normally, inexperienced drivers and careless drivers are the ones that tend to do this, putting themselves and other people in dangerous situations. 

If Another Driver Is Tailgating You, What Should You Do?

If you notice that another driver is tailgating you, they are probably trying to pass you or they are not realizing that they are following too closely or that is just how they drive. Regardless of the reason why they are doing that, the best thing to do is to change lanes, especially if you are driving on the left lane.

Switching to the slow lane will allow them to pass you, even if they go over the speed limit, and you will be out of danger. Another good tactic is to slowly reduce speed, which may alert them that they are getting too close to you. 

What Are Common Injuries in a Rear-End Collision?

Tailgating may result in a rear-end accident. Even if most accidents caused by tailgating do not end up in fatalities, it is possible to get injured in a rear-end collision. These are some of the most common injuries caused by this kind of accident:

How Can A New York Attorney Help?

If you were injured in a car accident because of another driver who was tailgating you and ended up crashing with you, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Getting fair compensation is not always easy. In most cases, insurance companies strive to pay as little as possible. Additionally, if your case can not be resolved with the insurance company, you might see yourself forced to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Lawsuits can be a long and exhausting process that can be difficult to handle on your own. An experienced personal attorney can help you in a tough situation like a car accident. 

If you want to get the best possible legal representation, do not hesitate to contact Greenberg & Stein P.C. Our prestigious firm has represented numerous clients who have been involved in all kinds of car accidents and have helped them receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us at 888-761-4137 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to review your case.

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