New York drivers must keep a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. Failing to keep enough space violates VTL §1129(a) for following too closely, also called tailgating. There is no concrete distance for how far back a driver needs to be to comply with New York traffic law. Police have significant discretion in enforcing the following too closely statute, which can result in an innocent driver receiving a traffic ticket.
We Can Handle Your Following Too Closely Traffic Ticket
If you’ve received a ticket for following too closely, you don’t have to plead guilty and pay the fine automatically. You have options. The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers can fight your traffic ticket for you. We will defend you against the traffic violation to help you reduce or avoid points on your license, fines, and an increase in your auto insurance premiums. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.
New York VTL §1129(a): Following Too Closely
New York drivers are legally required to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. According to New York’s traffic laws, drivers cannot “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.” There is a presumption that rear-end collisions are caused by a driver following too closely or tailgating the vehicle in front.
The statute that defines what constitutes following too closely is vague and doesn’t specify what a reasonable and prudent distance between vehicles should be. As a result, the regulation is subjective and gives police officers broad discretion when writing tickets. The statute assigns drivers the responsibility of judging the flow and speed of traffic and other roadway conditions to determine a reasonable distance to maintain between the vehicle in front. What may seem like a reasonable and good faith effort to maintain a safe traveling distance between vehicles may not be shared by the police officers who issue the ticket.
Penalties for Following Too Closely
The penalties can be serious if you’ve received a traffic ticket throughout Central New York for following too closely. Many drivers assume that hiring an attorney will be too expensive. On the contrary, working with an attorney who can have your ticket dismissed can save you significant time and money. If you already have points on your license, pleading guilty can result in significant fees and insurance premiums over time.
Following too closely is one of the higher point traffic violations in New York. If you plead guilty or are convicted, you will receive four points on your driver’s license. You will also need to pay a state surcharge of $88 or $93, depending on where you were ticketed. Additionally, you can be fined up to $150 for a first offense and up to $300 for a second offense within 18 months. A third offense in 18 months can result in a fine of up to $450.
Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) Fee
When a driver already has two points on his or her driver’s license and is convicted or pleads guilty to following too closely in New York, the consequences become more serious. Drivers with six or more points on their driver’s license must pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee. This is an additional fee on top of the initial fine and surcharge, paid directly to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The DRA costs $300 plus $75 for every point over six.
Auto Insurance Increases
Insurance companies know that following too closely is a common cause of expensive, preventable motor vehicle collisions. As a result, insurance companies typically raise insurance premiums after a driver has been convicted or pled guilty to driving too closely. They will raise rates even if the driver didn’t receive the ticket after a collision, and, in many cases, the premium can increase by up to 30 percent.
Defenses to a Ticket for Following Too Closely
Police officers have significant discretion when enforcing New York’s tailgating law. Officers can arbitrarily determine that a driver failed to maintain a safe distance. The good news is that the law’s subjectiveness provides numerous ways to fight tailgating tickets. For example, police officers rarely personally witness the tailgating that allegedly occurred before the accident when an accident occurs.
When an eyewitness can testify on behalf of the driver charged with tailgating, the driver can make a strong defense. A front-seat passenger may be able to testify that the driver’s distance and speed were reasonable under the circumstances. Perhaps there were factors other than tailgating that contributed to the accident.
The officer likely witnessed the alleged tailgating if there was no car accident. Defending against the ticket can be more challenging in this case, but it isn’t impossible. The attorneys at The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers will review the facts in your case and develop the best defense strategy possible. We may be able to prove that the conditions on the road made the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you reasonable and prudent. Every case is unique, and every legal defense should be tailored to the unique facts in your case.
Contact a Central New York Traffic Attorney for Following Too Closely Today!
If you or someone you have received a ticket for following too closely under VTL §1129(a), receiving assistance from an attorney can be helpful. The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers provide clients with excellent and assertive legal representation. Our law firm has successfully settled or dismissed numerous traffic tickets in Syracuse and throughout Central New York. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation, and we will review your case for free and help you understand your legal options.
The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers handle Following Too Closely tickets throughout Central New York including Albany County, Broome County, Cortland County, Cayuga County, Erie County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Oneida County, Onondaga County, Orange County, Oswego County, Saratoga County, and Warren County.